British Minister Resigns Over 'Terrible Mistake' In Brexit Deal

Conservative party MP Jo Johnson leaves 10 Downing street in central London after the first cabinet meeting of the new year following a reshuffle

Image Jo Johnson has resigned as a transport minister

Theresa May's hopes of getting a Brexit deal through Parliament were dealt a major blow on Friday after the transport minister Jo Johnson resigned so he can vote against the Prime Minister's "terrible mistake".

Jo Johnson, younger brother of former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, said the withdrawal agreement being discussed by European Union and British leaders would greatly weaken Britain and require the country to follow European Union rules without having any say.

"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: "This would not be about re-running the 2016 referendum, but about asking people whether they want to go ahead with Brexit now that we know the deal that is actually available to us, whether we should leave without any deal at all or whether people on balance would rather stick with the deal we already have inside the European Union".

Brexiteer Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns tweeted that she did not agree with him about another referendum - but his intervention highlighted unease on both sides of the debate, with the PM's efforts to secure a deal.

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"It has become increasingly clear to me that the withdrawal agreement, which is being finalised... will be a bad mistake", he wrote in a stinging resignation statement.

However he emphasised that a "no deal" Brexit, which the government insists is the only other option, would mean "chaos" that would cause disruption, delay and deep damage to the United Kingdom economy.

But even a no-deal Brexit "may well be better than the never-ending purgatory" that Mrs May's plan would offer.

His shock resignation came just hours after May's de facto deputy, David Lidington, said he remained confident that the government could win MPs' backing for the deal.

"This is the time for all of them, as Jo Johnson has done, to look deep inside their consciences, to reflect deeply on their responsibilities, and do the right thing for future generations".

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

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

Jo Johnson acknowledged that the Brexit negotiations "have at least united us in fraternal dismay".

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

She has consistently rejected the idea of another nationwide vote on Brexit, insisting her obligation is to make good on the will of the people as expressed in 2016.

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Jenny Chapman, Shadow Brexit Minister, said: "Jo Johnson is the eighteenth minister to resign from Theresa May's government".

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