Who is Jo Johnson, why did the rail minister resign over Brexit and does Boris' brother want a second referendum?

The rail minister said the deal was "substantially worse" than staying in the EU, and it was "imperative we go back to the people and check" they still want to leave.

Who is Jo Johnson?

Joseph Edmund Johnson is Boris Johnson's younger brother and a former Rail minister.

He was elected the Member of Parliament for Orpington in the General Election in May 2010, and re-elected in 2015 and 2017.

The 46-year-old has been serving as the Minister for London since 2018, until his resignation earlier today.

From April 2013 to May 2015, he was the Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit, and became Minister of State for the Cabinet Office in July 2014.

Following the May 2015 general election, Jo Johnson became the Minister for Universities and Science.

In January 2018, he became the Minister of State for the Department of Transport.

He is married to Amelia Gentleman, a reporter for The Guardian, and they have two children.

Why did he resign over Brexit?

Jo Johnson's resignation comes just months after his own brother Boris quit as Foreign Secretary – saying he couldn't back Mrs May's plans any longer.

His decision to resign came after the failure of Brexit negotiations to achieve what had been promised.

Mr Johnson said the proposed deal was “substantially worse” than staying in the EU and if the talks “have achieved little else, they have at least united us in fraternal dismay”.

He said: “To those who say that is an affront to democracy given the 2016 result, I ask this.

“Is it more democratic to rely on a three year old vote based on what an idealised Brexit might offer, or to have a vote based on what we know it does actually entail?”

Does he want a second referendum?

Upon resigning, Jo Johnson demanded a second referendum.

"It has become increasingly clear to me that the Withdrawal Agreement, which is being finalised in Brussels and Whitehall even as I write, will be a terrible mistake."

He said the proposed deal "will leave our country economically weakened, with no say in the EU rules it must follow and years of uncertainty for business" but the alternative is a no-deal Brexit which "will inflict untold damage on our nation".

Calling for a second referendum, he said: "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.

 

"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."

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