Trans­port min­is­ter quits and calls for sec­ond ref­er­en­dum

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - NEWS -

Jo John­son has re­signed from Theresa May’s Govern­ment in protest at her Brexit plan, warn­ing the coun­try faced a choice be­tween “vas­salage” un­der her pro­posed deal or the “chaos” of crash­ing out of the EU.

Mr John­son quit as trans­port min­is­ter and min­is­ter for Lon­don in or­der to vote against the Brexit deal when­ever it comes be­fore par­lia­ment and called for the pub­lic to be given a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum.

The se­nior Tory, who cam­paigned for Re­main, fol­lows his Leavesup­port­ing brother Boris John­son out of Mrs May’s govern­ment.

The for­mer for­eign sec­re­tary quit in July in protest at Mrs May’s han­dling of Brexit.

In a blog ex­plain­ing his de­ci­sion, Jo John­son said: “It has be­come in­creas­ingly clear to me that the with­drawal agree­ment, which is be­ing fi­nalised in Brus­sels and White­hall even as I write, will be a ter­ri­ble mis­take.

“In­deed, the choice be­ing pre­sented to the Bri­tish peo­ple is no choice at all.

“The first op­tion is the one the Govern­ment is propos­ing: an agree­ment that will leave our coun­try eco­nom­i­cally weak­ened, with no say in the EU rules it must fol­low and years of un­cer­tainty for busi­ness.

“The sec­ond op­tion is a no-deal Brexit that I know as a trans­port min­is­ter will in­flict un­told dam­age on our na­tion.

“To present the na­tion with a choice be­tween two deeply unattrac­tive out­comes, vas­salage and chaos, is a fail­ure of Bri­tish state­craft on a scale un­seen since the Suez cri­sis.”

He added: “Given that the re­al­ity of Brexit has turned out to be so far from what was once promised, the demo­cratic thing to do is to give the pub­lic the fi­nal say.”

Mr John­son’s res­ig­na­tion came just hours af­ter Mrs May’s de facto deputy, David Lid­ing­ton, said he hoped a deal would re­sult in a “new dynamic” at West­min­ster, with MPs ral­ly­ing be­hind the Prime Min­is­ter.

Jo John­son

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