Jo Johnson has left the role of transport minister after lambasting the government for its handling of the Brexit process and has added his support for a second referendum on the issue.
Johnson said the reality of Brexit had "turned out to be so far from what was once promised" with the country “barrelling towards an incoherent Brexit” and the "democratic thing to do is to give the public the final say".
He also referenced his work at the Department for Transport to warn of the “potential chaos” that could follow a “no deal” Brexit with plans to use various stretches of motorway in the south-east of England as lorry parks, insisting the “prospect of Kent becoming the Lorry Park of England is very real in a no deal scenario”.
The younger brother of Boris Johnson – an avid supporter to leave the European Union – also claimed that any second referendum would not be a repeat vote as people now have an idea of what sort of Brexit they are voting for.
In his resignation letter, Johnson said that despite voting to remain, he desperately wanted the government to find a way to make Brexit a success.
He added: “That’s why I voted to start the Article 50 process and for two years have backed the prime minister in her efforts to secure the best deal for the country. But 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.
“Britain stands on the brink of the greatest crisis since the Second World War. My loyalty to my party is undimmed. I have never rebelled on any issue before now. But my duty to my constituents and our great nation has forced me to act.”
In response to the resignation, a Downing Street spokesman said: "The referendum in 2016 was the biggest democratic exercise in this country's history. "We will not under any circumstances have a second referendum. The prime minister thanks Jo Johnson for his work in government."
While Jenny Chapman, Labour's shadow Brexit minister, said the resignation was the latest setback for Theresa May who was affectively “not in power”. "She has lost all authority and is incapable of negotiating a Brexit deal within her own party, let alone with the EU," Chapman said. "Theresa May is in office, but not in power."
Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Railway Industry Association, thanked Johnson for his engagement while recognising it only adds to the “uncertain times” the industry finds itself in.
“We at the Railway Industry Association would like to thank Jo Johnson for his work as rail minister and for his engagement with the rail supply community over the past year,” Caplan added. “We wish him the very best of luck in the future. RIA and our members look forward to working with his successor and continuing to work with the Department for Transport to build a world-class rail system, in what are clearly uncertain times.”