Minister Jo Johnson quits over Brexit and calls for new vote

Mike van Dulken 
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The MP for Orpington revealed in an open letter he would vote against the withdrawal agreement in the Commons.

Johnson outlined the reasons behind his decision in an article, accompanied by a video.

Johnson, who campaigned for Britain to stay in the European Union in the 2016 referendum, follows his elder sibling Boris - who spearheaded the pro-Brexit camp and quit as foreign secretary in July over Prime Minister Theresa May's plans - out of government over the divisive issue.

Former Brexit secretary David Davis said the full government legal advice on Brexit must be published and insisted how the United Kingdom could exit from the customs union must be "pinned down" before MPs and peers vote on the deal.

He described this as "a failure of British statecraft unseen since the Suez crisis" but said even a no-deal Brexit "may well be better than the never-ending purgatory" being put forward by the prime minister.

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

His brother praised his decision, saying they were "united in dismay" at the PM's handling of the negotiations.

"The referendum in 2016 was the biggest democratic exercise in this country's history", the spokesman said.

It added: "The recent subdued business investment environment is consistent with external surveys of investment intentions, which attribute much of the weakness to Brexit-related economic and political uncertainty".

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In a long statement, the former rail minister, who voted to remain in the 2016 referendum, said: 'I have today written to the Prime Minister asking her to accept my resignation from the Government.

Labour Shadow Brexit Minister Jenny Chapman said that Theresa May had "lost all authority and is incapable of negotiating a Brexit deal within her own party, let alone with the EU".

"We will not under any circumstances have a 2nd referendum".

Johnson is the 14th minister to have resigned from government since November previous year and the most senior to have called for another referendum in his leaving statement.

Boris Johnson tweeted supported for his brother's resignation.

Giving his response on Twitter, Boris wrote: "Boundless admiration as ever for my brother Jo".

"We are barreling towards an incoherent Brexit that is going to leave us trapped in a subordinate relationship to the EU", he said.

One of the scenarios being discussed is Britain remaining in a customs agreement with the European Union for a limited period even after the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020, which would avoid the introduction of new border controls between Ireland and Northern Ireland, Walker said.

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