Boris Johnson's brother resigns and calls for a second Brexit referendum

PA Wire  PA Images               Theresa May will need the support of her cabinet should the EU approve a draft deal

On Friday the DUP, whose support Theresa May relies on for votes in the Commons, said they can not support any deal which included the possibility that Northern Ireland would be treated differently from the rest of the UK. The former transport minister quit the government yesterday so that he can vote against what he rightly regards as the greatest humiliation since Suez.

The only alternative on the table, he said, is a no-deal Brexit that would "inflict untold damage" on Britain. Amid a Brexit process that has been characterised by shameful dissimulation at the highest levels of the British state, Mr Johnson should be applauded for his honesty.

'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 bad mistake, ' said Jo Johnson in an online article sent to journalists.

But even a no-deal Brexit "may well be better than the never-ending purgatory" that Mrs May's plan would offer. Theresa May has said the withdrawal deal is 95% done - but there is no agreement yet on how to guarantee no hard border in Northern Ireland.

In such circumstances, he argued, there must be a second European Union referendum, he said.

He promised a new vote would "would not be about re-running the 2016 referendum" but "asking people whether they want to go ahead with Brexit now that we know the deal that is actually available to us".

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


Asked on Friday whether an agreement could make it through Parliament, de facto deputy PM David Lidington said he hoped that if a deal is agreed between the United Kingdom and European Union it would create a "new dynamic" in Westminster. "The PM thanks Jo Johnson for his work in government".

He said his brother and arch-Brexiteer Boris is "as unhappy with the Government's proposals as I am".

While Johnson's resignation is likely to spur critics in the Conservative Party, securing a second referendum would also require support from the Labour Party, which is yet to fully clarify its stance on a referendum and what that could entail in terms of the question put to the public.

His decision was welcomed by campaigners for a second referendum, with some privately suggesting other junior ministers could join him in the coming days.

In an open letter today he wrote: " The government may have to take control of prioritising which lorries and which goods are allowed in and out of the country, an extraordinary and surely unworkable intervention for a government in an advanced capitalist economy. "On that he is unquestionably right", he said. We speak to former attorney general Dominic Grieve.

He wrote: "Boundless admiration as ever for my brother Jo".

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