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Rail minister Jo Johnson quits over Brexit

Rail minister Jo Johnson has quit the government in protest at its handling of Brexit and called for a second referendum.

Mr Johnson, who is Boris Johnson’s brother, said the country was “barrelling towards an incoherent Brexit” with “no say” over rules governing the country’s economy.

It was “unacceptable and unsustainable” for the prime minister to be preparing for a Brexit deal that was vastly different to “what was promised in the referendum”, he said in a video posted online.

Ending his resignation message, the MP for Orpington called for a second referendum on the deal that Theresa May negotiates with Brussels.

“I think it is imperative that we go back to the people and check that they want to proceed on this extraordinary basis,” he said.

In an article accompanying his resignation, Mr Johnson said “potential chaos” awaited the country if the UK crashed out of the EU with no deal.

He highlighted plans to use various stretches of motorway in the South-east of England as lorry parks as evidence of disruption that people could face.

Mr Johnson, who voted to remain, appealed to his brother Boris and other Leave supporters not to pursue a no-deal Brexit, saying it would “leave an indelible impression of incompetence in the minds of the public”.

Agreeing an “incoherent” deal with Brussels to avert a no-deal situation was not a good alternative though, he said, adding that the prime minister could not claim “honestly” that such a deal would be an improvement on the country’s current relationship with the EU.

Mr Johnson said he would rebel for the first time and vote against the prime minister’s Brexit deal.

He said: “I reject this false choice between the PM’s deal and ‘no deal’ chaos.”

Mr Johnson was appointed a minister of state for transport in January this year with responsibilty for rail including Northern Powerhouse Rail and Crossrail 2.

Last month he confirmed Crossrail would receive a £350m loan to complete works on the delayed underground line.

Readers' comments (1)

  • No great loss then. The majority voted for Brexit and installed those MPs negotiating the deal. So why a second referendum? Britain will look like a nation of idiots, which, apart from parliament, is not true.

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