LONDON (Reuters) – The British junior transport minister Jo Johnson said on Friday that he quit the government over his…
LONDON (Reuters) – The British junior transport minister Jo Johnson said on Friday that he quit the government over his proposed Brexit deal and demanded a second referendum, saying that Britain was on the verge of the biggest crisis since World War II.
PHILPHOTO: Jo Johnson arrives at 1
0 Downing Street, London, UK, January 9, 2018. REUTERS / Peter Nicholls / File Photo
Here is the text of Johnson, Brother of former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson.
“Brexit has divided the country, it has divided political parties. And it has shared families too. Despite voting, I desperately wanted the government, where I was proud to earn, to succeed with Brexit: to reunite our country, our party and, yes, my family too. Sometimes I thought it was possible. Therefore I voted to start the Article 50 process and for two years, the Prime Minister has supported her efforts to get the best deal for land, but it has become clear to me that the recall, completed in Brussels and Whitehall, just as I write will be a terrible mistake.
“The choice presented to the British people is actually no choice at all. The first option is what the government proposes: an agreement that will weaken our country economically, without saying anything in EU rules, it must follow and years of uncertainty for business. The second option is a “no deal” Brexit as I know as a transport minister will lead to incredible damage to our nation. Presenting the nation with a choice between two deeply unattractive results, laundering and chaos, is a failure of British statecraft on a scale invisible since the Suez crisis. My constituents in Orpington deserve better than this from their government.
“What is now proposed will be nothing like what was promised two years ago.
” Proposals about “the simplest trade agreement in history” have proven to be misrepresentations. In contrast to promises, there is in fact no agreement on our future trade relationship with the EU that the government can present to the country. Even less that gives “exactly the same benefits” as the single market, as David Davis promised, or “exact guarantees for frictional trade” that the prime minister assured us would be available. All that is now being completed is the agreement to pay the EU tens of billions of pounds. All that can be offered on trade is the potential for an agreement to remain in a temporary tariff arrangement while discussing the possibility of an EU trade agreement that all experience shows will take many years to negotiate.
“Even if we eventually secure a customs arrangement for trade in goods, it will be bad news for the service sector – for companies in finance, IT, communications and digital technology. Maintaining access to EU markets for goods is important, but we are basically a service economy. Many in Orpington, for example, are among the two million British employees employed in financial services and commute in central London to various jobs in the city. Countries around the world go to a great extent to attract financial and professional services jobs from our beaches. An agreement that significantly reduces access to EU financial services markets – or leaving us vulnerable to legislative changes that we do not affect – will hurt my constituents and hurt one of our most successful sectors.
“While we are waiting to negotiate terms of trade, the rules of the game will be fixed earmarked exclusively by the EU. Britain will lose its seat at the table and its ability to change or vote down rules that it opposes. Instead of returning the UK, we will refrain from checking to other European countries. This democratic deficit in the prime minister’s proposal is a travesty of Brexit. When we learned that Brexit meant we would withdraw authority for Parliament, nobody told my constituents this meant that the French Parliament and the German Parliament, not our own. Under these circumstances, we must ask what we achieve. William Hague once described the goals of conservative politics as “in Europe, but not driven by Europe”. The government’s proposal will look us out of Europe, but driven by Europe, which is bound by rules as we will have lost a hand in shape.
“It is even worse, there is no real clarity about how this situation will ever end. The proposed collective agreement places many of the biggest issues about our future relationship with Europe in a boundless transition period. This is a matter of it British people: There is no evidence that the type of Brexit we failed to negotiate when we are still members can be unanimous if the UK has lost its seat at the table. The leverage effect we have as a full member of the EU will have gone. We will be in a much worse negotiating position than we are today. And we have still failed to solve the basic issues that increase business uncertainty and prevent them from investing in the future.
“My brother Boris, who led the unemployment campaign, is as unhappy with the government’s proposal as I am. He actually found that the proposed arrangements were “significantly worse than staying in the EU”. On that he is undoubtedly right. If these negotiations have achieved a little else, they have at least joined us with brotherly fear.
“The argument that the government will present for the recall agreement” is not that it is better for Britain than our current membership. The state minister knows that she can not honestly claim that the agreement is an improvement on Britain’s current arrangement with the EU and, according to her credit, refuses to do so. The only thing she can try to do is make it better than the option to leave the EU without any agreement at all.
“Certainly, I know from my own work at the Department of Transport the potential chaos that will follow a” no deal “Brexit. It will cause disturbance, delay and deep damage to our economy. There are real questions about how We will be able to guarantee access to fresh food and medicine if the crucial trade route in Dover-Calais is clogged. The government may need to control the priority of which trucks and goods allowed in and outside the country, an extraordinary and safe unusable intervention for a government in an advanced capitalist economy. The view that Kent becomes Lorry Park of England is very real in a non-scenario. Orpington residents bound to Kent disorders from plans to use the nearby M26, which connects the M25 to the M20 as an extra heavy goods vehicles queue backed up all the way from the canal ports. This view would only be an outgoing question a to me as a constituency MP, but it’s just a facet of a much bigger problem facing the country.
“But for all their challenges and for all real pain it would cause us as we adapt to new barriers to trade with our largest market, we can finally survive these difficulties. I think it would be a big mistake for the government to get through this deal by re-releasing Project Fear. A “no agreement” result of this kind may well be better than the never-ending purgatory prime minister offers the country. But my message to my brother and to all leave campaigns is that the supply of such serious economic and political damage to the country will leave an indelible impression of incompetence in public minds. It may not be what you wanted or gave 2016 referendum any mandate for it.
“Given that Brexy’s reality has proven to be so far from what once promised, the democratic thing is to give the public the last word. This would not be about resuming the 2016 referendum but asking people if they want to continue with Brexit now when we know the deal that is actually available to us, whether we should leave without any agreement at all or on people Balance would rather hold on to the business we already have in the European Union.
“For those who say it is a deterrent to democracy with the outcome in 2016, I ask this. Is it more democratic to rely on a three-year voice based on what an idealized Brexit can offer, or to have a voice based on what we know it actually brings?
“A majority of Orpington voters chose to leave the EU in 2016 and many of the close friends I have there, among those who work hard conservative parties, are passionate pro-Brexit. I respect their position. But I know from meetings I’ve had with local members that many people are as upset as I through the negotiations and about the actual choice that is now being offered. For two and a half years, the practical Brexit options are now clear and the public should be asked to choose between different ways to our country: we will all have different positions on that election, but I think many in my local party, in Orpington constituency and around the country would welcome the last word on the government’s Brexit proposal.
“The United Kingdom is on the brink of the greatest crisis since World War II. My loyalty to my party is unreasonable. I never rebel any problem until now. But my duty to my constituents and our great nation has forced me to act. I have today written to the Prime Minister that she will accept my termination from the government. It is now my intention to vote against this revocation agreement. I reject this incorrect choice between the PM agreement and “no agreement” chaos. In this ruling of the issues, consider I think it is entirely right to go back to the people and ask them to confirm their decision to leave the EU and, if they choose to do so, to give them the last word if we leave with the Prime Minister’s agreement or without it.  “Doing something less will seriously harm our democracy.”
Reporting by Michael Holden
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