Minister Jo Johnson quits United Kingdom government over Brexit, calls for new vote

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier addresses the EPP congress in Helsinki

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier addresses the EPP congress in Helsinki

But he said a second referendum is "not the way forward and is not supported by the public".

The remain-backing MP for Orpington and rail minister published an article online saying he could not vote for the deal which May is expected to bring back to parliament within weeks and instead would be throw his weight behind a second referendum.

Eloise Todd, of Best for Britain, said: "This is an incredibly fearless move from Jo Johnson at a time when the public desperately needs more MPs to act in the national interest".

"But I have every hope that the Prime Minister would listen to Parliament, because the alternative in those circumstances would be nearly certainly that the Government would fall".

"Given that the reality of Brexit has turned out to be so far from what was once promised, the democratic thing to do is to give the public the final say", he said.

The U.K. government will resist calls for another referendum on leaving the European Union even if it fails to secure an acceptable withdrawal agreement with the bloc, according to International Trade Secretary Liam Fox.

Cabinet ministers have been visiting 10 Downing St this week to see details of the government's plan for the "divorce deal" and subsequent trading and customs relationship with the EU.

Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable, whose party supports calls for a "People's Vote" on the final deal, said: "We warmly welcome Jo Johnson's support of the campaign to give the people the final say on the deal and a chance to exit from Brexit".

"We may not have agreed about Brexit but we are united in dismay at the intellectually and politically indefensible".

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.

Lidington has insisted the government remains confident it can get its Brexit deal through parliament, despite the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) warning it was prepared to vote it down.

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".

Jo Johnson's resignation, and his call for a fresh referendum to test voter sentiment, further complicates matters for May as she tries to strike a deal with European Union leaders that would pass muster with her own cabinet and win backing in Parliament.

Describing Mrs May's Brexit plan as "a awful mistake" he accused the Prime Minister of negotiating a deal which wasn't "anything like what was promised".

"Brexit has divided the country".

His older brother Boris wrote on Twitter after the announcement: 'Boundless admiration as ever for my brother Jo.

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