JOHN­SON HINTS MORE COULD QUIT

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - SHAUN CON­NOLLY PA re­porter news­[email protected]­line.co.uk

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 come to his or her own view.

“This is one of the most mo­men­tous ques­tions we will ever face in our po­lit­i­cal ca­reers. to

“And every­body 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 is think­ing very 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 ex-first sec­re­tary of state Damian Green.

He told the To­day pro­gramme: “My ba­sic dis­agree­ment with Jo is about the need for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum. I think a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum would be di­vi­sive, but it wouldn’t be de­ci­sive. All the ev­i­dence is that the coun­try is still, more or less, split down the mid­dle.”

Prom­i­nent Brex­i­teer Ja­cob ReesMogg also crit­i­cised at­tempts to force a new poll on EU mem­ber­ship.

Asked if he could agree with Mr John­son’s call for a new ref­er­en­dum, Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn said: “Not re­ally, no.

“The ref­er­en­dum took place. The is­sue now has to be how we bring peo­ple to­gether, bring peo­ple to­gether around the prin­ci­ples of our econ­omy, our rights and that we don’t turn this coun­try into some kind of off­shore tax haven on the lines that Don­ald Trump might want us to.”

Mr Cor­byn said any Brexit deal brought to the Com­mons by the Gov­ern­ment would need to be mea­sured against Labour’s six tests for a with­drawal agree­ment.

He said: “We will test the Gov­ern­ment against our six ques­tions. Our six points will be put to them and we will vote ac­cord­ingly. If it means we vote against the Gov­ern­ment, we vote against the Gov­ern­ment.

“If it’s de­feated, it means they’ve got a choice – ei­ther go back and ne­go­ti­ate some­thing bet­ter or re­sign.”

He added: “They’re ques­tions about the ben­e­fits to ev­ery part of the UK. They’re ques­tions about the North­ern Ire­land bor­der, they’re ques­tions about the kind of reg­u­la­tory frame­work in which we’ll live. I think those things are very im­por­tant and, surely, it’s the duty of Par­lia­ment and duty of the op­po­si­tion to hold the Gov­ern­ment to ac­count on this and that’s what we’ll do.”

STE­FAN ROUSSEAU

Jo John­son has re­signed as trans­port min­is­ter over Brexit, say­ing the deal be­ing fi­nalised ‘will be a ter­ri­ble mis­take’

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