Stanley Johnson, father of politicians Boris and Jo, said the Uxbridge MP would not shy away from making the argument for leaving again. if there was a second referendum. Jo Johnson resigned from the Government yesterday and called Theresa May’s Brexit plan “incoherent”. He said a new vote on EU membership was required.
Discussing whether Jo’s decision to back a second referendum would cause a rift between him and his brother, the father argued he would not be surprised if his other son also backed the idea.
Mr Johnson said: “Boris is a fighter and I could well see him saying, ‘well okay, you want a referendum? You want a referendum which includes the in-out issue? Bring it on!’
“I could see Boris saying that.
“I haven’t had this conversation with him but I don’t think he would flinch from making his point again as he made it two years ago.”
An ardent Remainer, the senior political figure quickly added he thought Boris would be “wrong” in his argument the UK should leave the trade bloc.
Boris Johnson resigned as Foreign Secretary in July in protest at the Prime Minister’s Chequers proposal, claiming it would leave the UK a rule taker from Brussels.
His brother followed in his footsteps yesterday by announcing his resignation as transport minister.
Describing Mrs May’s Brexit plan as “a terrible mistake” he accused the Prime Minister of negotiating a deal which wasn’t “anything like what was promised”.
In his resignation he called for a second EU 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.”
The Government has ruled out a second referendum.
Despite Stanley Johnson’s eager suggestion Boris might be willing to back another vote, delivering a speech at a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference in October, he ruled out the option.
He said: “As Ruth Davidson has rightly pointed out, we cannot tell the Scots that they have made a decision to reject independence for a generation – and then ask the UK electorate to vote again on the EU.”