Jo Johnson resigns from UK government, calls for referendum to avoid Brexit vassalage or chaos


FILE PHOTO: Jo Johnson, the brother of Boris Johnson, walks through Westminster in London, Britain, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – Jo Johnson, the younger brother of Boris Johnson, resigned from Prime Minister Theresa May’s government on Friday, calling for another referendum to avoid the vassalage or chaos that he said her Brexit plans would unleash.

“Britain stands on the brink of the greatest crisis since the Second World War,” Johnson, a former Financial Times journalist who voted to stay in the EU in the 2016 referendum, said after resigning as junior transport minister.

Johnson issued a damning critique of May’s “delusional” Brexit negotiation and said the government had argued itself into a choice between vassalage and chaos, the worst failure of statecraft since the 1956 Suez crisis.

“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 said in a statement.

“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 added.

Johnson is the 14th minister to have resigned from government since May held a misjudged snap election in June last year.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Stephen Addison

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