LONDON (Reuters) – British junior transport minister Jo Johnson mentioned on Friday he was quitting the government over its proposed Brexit deal, calling for a second referendum and saying Britain stood on the point of the best disaster since World War Two.
FILE PHOTO: Jo Johnson arrives at 10 Downing Street, London, Britain January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Here is the textual content of the resignation assertion of Johnson, brother of former international minister Boris Johnson.
“Brexit has divided the nation. It has divided political events. And it has divided households too. Although I voted Remain, I have desperately wished the Government, through which I have been proud to serve, to make a hit of Brexit: to reunite our nation, our celebration and, sure, my household too. At instances, I believed this was attainable. That’s why I voted to start out the Article 50 course of and for 2 years have backed the Prime Minister in her efforts to safe the perfect deal for the nation. But it has change into more and more clear to me that the Withdrawal Agreement, which is being finalised in Brussels and Whitehall at the same time as I write, shall be a horrible mistake.
“Indeed, the selection being offered to the British folks isn’t any selection in any respect. The first choice is the one the Government is proposing: an settlement that may go away our nation economically weakened, with no say within the EU guidelines it should comply with and years of uncertainty for business. The second choice is a “no deal” Brexit that I do know as a Transport Minister will inflict untold injury on our nation. To current the nation with a selection between two deeply unattractive outcomes, vassalage and chaos, is a failure of British statecraft on a scale unseen for the reason that Suez disaster. My constituents in Orpington deserve higher than this from their Government.
“What is now being proposed gained’t be something like what was promised two years in the past.
“Hopes for ‘the easiest trade deal in history’ have proved to be delusions. Contrary to guarantees, there’s in truth no deal in any respect on our future buying and selling relationship with the EU which the government can current to the nation. Still much less something that gives the ‘exact same benefits’ because the Single Market, as David Davis promised, or the ‘precise guarantees of frictionless trade’ that the Prime Minister assured us can be accessible. All that’s now being finalised is the settlement to pay the EU tens of billions of kilos. All which may be on provide on commerce is the potential for an settlement to remain in a short lived customs association whereas we focus on the potential for an EU commerce deal that every one expertise reveals will take a few years to barter.
“Even if we ultimately safe a customs association for commerce in items, will probably be dangerous news for the service sector — for corporations in finance, in IT, in communications and digital know-how. Maintaining entry to EU markets for items is essential, however we’re basically a providers financial system. Many in Orpington, for instance, are among the many two million Britons employed in monetary providers, commuting into the centre of London to jobs of every kind within the City. Countries throughout the world go to nice lengths to draw monetary providers jobs from our shores. An settlement that sharply reduces entry to EU markets for monetary providers — or leaves us susceptible to regulatory change over which we’ll have no affect — will damage my constituents and injury one in all our most profitable sectors.
“While we wait to barter buying and selling phrases, the foundations of the game shall be set solely by the EU. Britain will lose its seat on the desk and its means to amend or vote down guidelines it opposes. Instead of Britain ‘taking back control’, we’ll cede management to different European international locations. This democratic deficit inherent within the Prime Minister’s proposal is a travesty of Brexit. When we had been informed Brexit meant taking again powers for Parliament, nobody informed my constituents this meant the French parliament and the German parliament, not our personal. In these circumstances, we should ask what we’re reaching. William Hague as soon as described the purpose of Conservative coverage as being ‘in Europe, but not run by Europe’. The government’s proposals will see us out of Europe, but run by Europe, certain by guidelines which we’ll have lost a hand in shaping.
“Worse nonetheless, there is no such thing as a actual readability about how this case will ever finish. The proposed Withdrawal Agreement parks most of the largest points about our future relationship with Europe right into a boundless transitionary interval. This is a con on the British folks: there is no such thing as a proof that the type of Brexit that we’ve failed to barter whereas we’re nonetheless members could be magically agreed as soon as the UK has lost its seat on the desk. The leverage we have as a full member of the EU will have gone. We shall be in a far worse negotiating place than we’re in the present day. And we’ll have nonetheless didn’t resolve the elemental questions which can be ramping up uncertainties for companies and stopping them investing for the long run.
“My brother Boris, who led the go away marketing campaign, is as sad with the Government’s proposals as I’m. Indeed he just lately noticed that the proposed preparations had been ‘substantially worse than staying in the EU’. On that he’s unquestionably proper. If these negotiations have achieved little else, they have no less than united us in fraternal dismay.
“The argument that the government will current for the Withdrawal Agreement ‘deal’ is just not that it’s higher for Britain than our present membership. The Prime Minister is aware of that she can not truthfully make the declare that the deal is an enchancment on Britain’s present preparations with the EU and, to her credit score, refuses to take action. The solely case she will attempt to make is that it’s higher than the choice of leaving the EU with no deal in any respect.
“Certainly, I do know from my very own work on the Department of Transport the potential chaos that may comply with a ‘no deal’ Brexit. It will trigger disruption, delay and deep injury to our financial system. There are actual questions on how we can assure entry to recent meals and drugs if the essential Dover-Calais commerce route is clogged up. The government could have to take management of prioritising which lorries and which items are allowed in and overseas, a unprecedented and certainly unworkable intervention for a government in a sophisticated capitalist financial system. The prospect of Kent changing into the Lorry Park of England could be very actual in a no deal state of affairs. Orpington residents bordering Kent face disruption from plans to make use of the close by M26, connecting the M25 to the M20, as a further queuing space for heavy items autos backed up all the way in which from the channel ports. This prospect alone can be a resigning matter for me as a constituency MP, however it’s only a aspect of a far higher drawback dealing with the nation.
“Yet for all its challenges and for all the actual ache it could trigger us as we adapt to new limitations to commerce with our largest market, we are able to finally survive these difficulties. I consider it could be a grave mistake for the government to ram by way of this deal by as soon as once more unleashing Project Fear. A ‘no deal’ end result of this kind might be higher than the by no means ending purgatory the Prime Minister is providing the nation. But my message to my brother and to all Leave campaigners is that inflicting such severe financial and political hurt on the nation will go away an indelible impression of incompetence within the minds of the general public. It can’t be what you wished nor did the 2016 referendum present any mandate for it.
“Given that the fact of Brexit has turned out to be so removed from what was as soon as promised, the democratic factor to do is to offer the general public the ultimate say. This wouldn’t be about re-running the 2016 referendum, however about asking folks whether or not they need to go forward with Brexit now that we all know the deal that’s truly accessible to us, whether or not we must always go away with none deal in any respect or whether or not folks on steadiness would moderately keep on with the deal we already have contained in the European Union.
“To these who say that’s an affront to democracy given the 2016 end result, I ask this. Is it extra democratic to depend on a 3 yr previous vote based mostly on what an idealised Brexit would possibly provide, or to have a vote based mostly on what we all know it does truly entail?
“A majority of Orpington voters selected to depart the EU in 2016 and most of the shut mates I have there, amongst them hard-working native Conservative Party members, are passionately pro-Brexit. I respect their place. But I do know from conferences I have had with native members that many are as dismayed as me by the course of negotiations and concerning the precise selection now on provide. Two and a half years on, the sensible Brexit choices at the moment are clear and the general public ought to be requested to decide on between the completely different paths dealing with our nation: we’ll all have completely different positions on that selection, however I feel many in my native celebration, within the Orpington constituency and across the nation would welcome having the final phrase on the Government’s Brexit proposals.
“Britain stands on the point of the best disaster for the reason that Second World War. My loyalty to my celebration is undimmed. I have by no means rebelled on any subject prior to now. But my obligation to my constituents and our nice nation has pressured me to behave. I have in the present day written to the Prime Minister asking her to simply accept my resignation from the Government. It is now my intention to vote in opposition to this Withdrawal Agreement. I reject this false selection between the PM’s deal and ‘no deal’ chaos. On this most important of questions, I consider it’s completely proper to return to the folks and ask them to verify their choice to depart the EU and, in the event that they select to do this, to offer them the ultimate say on whether or not we go away with the Prime Minister’s deal or with out it.
“To do something much less will do grave injury to our democracy.”
Reporting by Michael Holden