More min­is­ters may quit, hints John­son

Sunday Sun - - News -

JO John­son has sig­nalled that more min­is­ters may be poised to quit over Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s Brexit plans.

Mr John­son, whose bomb­shell res­ig­na­tion as trans­port min­is­ter took West­min­ster by sur­prise, said if other se­nior Tories fol­lowed suit, “good on them”.

Call­ing for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum to be held on Brexit, Mr John­son de­nounced the choice be­tween Mrs May’s deal plans or a no-deal sce­nario as a “fail­ure of Bri­tish state­craft on a scale un­seen since the Suez cri­sis” that had left Bri­tain fac­ing “vas­salage” or “chaos”.

Asked whether other min­is­ters should quit over the is­sue, Mr John­son told BBC Ra­dio 4’s To­day pro­gramme: “I think this is so im­por­tant that it’s up to MPs to take a stand.

“I’ve done so, if oth­ers feel that it’s right for them to do so, good on them.” He added: “It’s for each MP to come to his or her own view. “This is one of the most mo­men­tous ques­tions we will ever face in our po­lit­i­cal ca­reers. “And ev­ery­body is think­ing very hard about it. “Of course I talk to col­leagues across Par­lia­ment and those con­ver­sa­tions al­ways re­mind me of how deeply MPs think about their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, and I know many are re­flect­ing hard about the deal that’s loom­ing and how they will re­spond to it. “But it’s ob­vi­ously for each of them to work out how best to re­spond to those ques­tions.” Mr John­son in­sisted his res­ig­na­tion was not an at­tempt to oust the PM. “My pri­or­ity is re­ally just to do my bit as a now back­bench MP to try and en­cour­age the coun­try to pause and re­flect be­fore we do some­thing that is ir­re­vo­ca­bly stupid.”

Call­ing for a new ref­er­en­dum, Mr John­son said: “My view is that this is so dif­fer­ent from what was billed that it would be an ab­so­lute trav­esty if we do not go back to the peo­ple and ask them if they ac­tu­ally do want to exit the EU on this ex­traor­di­nar­ily hope­less ba­sis.”

Asked if his brother Boris John­son had lied to vot­ers dur­ing the ref­er­en­dum about Brexit, the for­mer trans­port min­is­ter said: “In the cam­paign there were un­doubt­edly prom­ises made that have shown to be un­de­liv­er­able. “No one can dis­pute that.” Mr John­son said his role as trans­port min­is­ter had caused him con­cern about the im­pact of a no-deal out­come.

Mrs May is also un­der pressure from the DUP over her Brexit plans, as well as Eu­roscep­tic Tories.

But calls for a sec­ond Brexit ref­er­en­dum have been at­tacked by ex­first sec­re­tary of state Damian Green.

For­mer Trans­port Min­is­ter Jo John­son

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