U.K. min­is­ter re­signs over Brexit, backs an­other ref­er­en­dum

The Western Star - - BUSINESS - BY GRE­GORY KATZ

A min­is­ter in the British gov­ern­ment stepped down Fri­day to protest Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s Brexit plan and is back­ing calls for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum on whether the coun­try should leave the Eu­ro­pean Union.

Jo John­son, younger brother of for­mer For­eign Sec­re­tary Boris John­son, said the with­drawal agree­ment be­ing dis­cussed by EU and British lead­ers would greatly weaken Bri­tain and re­quire the coun­try to fol­low EU rules with­out hav­ing any say. The only al­ter­na­tive on the ta­ble, he said, is a no-deal Brexit that would “in­flict un­told dam­age” on Bri­tain.

“It has be­come in­creas­ingly clear to me that the with­drawal agree­ment, which is be­ing fi­nal­ized in Brus­sels and White­hall even as I write, will be a ter­ri­ble mis­take,” said Jo John­son, who was a trans­port min­is­ter in the gov­ern­ment.

To give the pub­lic a choice be­tween th­ese two dis­as­trous ver­sions of Brexit would be a “fail­ure of British state­craft on a scale un­seen since the Suez cri­sis,” he said, ref­er­enc­ing the 1956 con­flict against Egyp­tian Pres­i­dent Ga­mal Ab­del Nasser that is widely seen as mark­ing the mo­ment at which Bri­tain for­mally lost its im­pe­rial role in the world.

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