Transport minister Jo Johnson resigns over Brexit

Theresa May leaves the back of Number 10 Downing Street

The British government was thrown into a fresh round of turbulence on Friday as Jo Johnson, the brother of Boris Johnson and the country's Transport Minister, resigned unexpectedly and lashed out at the direction of government negotiations on Brexit, describing it as the country's worst instance of statecraft since the 1956 Suez crisis.

The sterling which had traded as high as 1.3072 against the US Dollar slipped to 1.2969 at the NY close and to 0.8742 versus the euro having been as high as 0.8692, just two points above Thursday's six month sterling top of 0.8682.

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.

Corbyn said any Brexit deal brought to the Commons by the government would need to be measured against Labour's six tests for a withdrawal agreement.

But calls for a second Brexit referendum have been attacked by ex-first secretary of state Damian Green.

Boris Johnson was one of the most prominent and influential of the Brexit advocates.

Prime Minister Theresa May this week faced pressure from her Westminster allies in the Democratic Unionist Party not to allow a customs border to split Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom after Brexit.

"I mean volley to the left of the them, volley to right of them, and the Prime Minister charges on into the valley of death".

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Johnson wants a three-way referendum giving the people a choice between remaining in the EU, May's deal and no deal.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said: "We warmly welcome Jo Johnson's support of the campaign to give the people the final say on the deal and a chance to exit from Brexit".

"The second option is a "no deal" Brexit that I know as a transport minister will inflict untold damage on our nation". He said in its current form it would not have enough Conservative support to get through a vote in parliament.

"There have always been some who want to punish Britain for our decision to leave the European Union which, of course, was our legal right".

"We may not have agreed about Brexit but we are united in dismay at the intellectually and politically indefensible of the UK position".

Beyond the symbolism and fraternal melodrama, Jo Johnson's decision to resign to campaign for a second referendum highlights a much more serious problem for Theresa May than just the loss of another minister.

FILE - In this March 3, 2016 file photo, Universities Minister Jo Johnson is photographed prior to giving a speech on science, universities and the European Union at the Babbage Lecture Theatre, University of Cambridge in Cambridge.

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