Like a sad affair, Brexit gathered the Johnson together

ORrpington is half hour train ride from London and has all the features of a suburban market town: independent shops, traditional English cafes and pubs. A little down the road from its train station, a thatched house hosts the local Conservative Association. A huge Jo Johnson flag is hoisted on the outside lawn, and his face stares at the drivers heading south to Kent. Despite this, and the fact that it has been less than 24 hours since Johnson left the government and exacerbated the Brexit crisis that overwhelmed Theresa May, many of her constituents on the tree-lined road do not recognize her name.

At Reku Zen, an Asian restaurant, Denislav Ivanov, 24, is in order of size. He just heard about the other Tory parliamentarian, Johnson. "The guy with the hair has a brother and he is anti-Brexit?" Asks Ivanov, incredulous. He thinks Brexit will hurt our economy, but having moved Europe since he left Poland, he is not worried about his status. "I speak Spanish, I am young – I will move to Spain," he says.

Some of those who knew their parliamentarian had also announced his resignation on Friday. "I've heard that the Brexit will make the traffic in Dover worse due to customs controls," says Frieda McClorey, 85, as she waits for her bus. "I think he did the right thing in his resignation, I voted to stay, even though many of my friends voted to leave, I hope there will be another referendum," he says.

On the other side of the street, Charlotte Drake, 29, is taking a break from working as a mentor for the National Citizenship Project. She, like most of the people of Orpington, voted to leave. She was and remains worried about immigration. But Drake now thinks that Leave's campaign has made many false promises. "A lot of people are changing their mind," he says, but can not reveal his own hand.

If Jo Johnson's resignation has the desired effect, they will accelerate the change in opinion that Drake has noticed in this corner of Kent. Despite all the deep and harsh divisions in Westminster and across the country, and the subsequent resignation from his government (Jo Johnson was the sixth miner to come out specifically from Brexit), Theresa May always believed that when it came to the crisis moment in which an agreement was offered that would take the United Kingdom out of the EU on March 29th of next year, his party and the country would join sufficiently behind her to allow a withdrawal agreement to pass through parliament . The country would gather behind its vision of Brexit.

Instead, as people become more aware of what brings the EU out, many MPs believe the opposite can happen. This weekend, with the time available, the rest of Tory and the Brexiters are joining more and more, but in a way opposite to what the prime minister had hoped for. Increasingly we are talking about what is being offered – from their different sides of the Brexit ideological gap. The Johnson family is divided between Brexiter Boris and the rest of the tribe, his brother Jo, his sister Rachel and his father Stanley. But I agree on one thing: the May agreement would be terrifying for the country, leaving the UK with a deal much worse than what would have remained in the European Union.

Charlotte Drake, a resident of Orpington.



Charlotte Drake, a resident of Orpington, says many people are changing their mind about Brexit. Photo: Eleni Courea for the observer

With Labor willing to vote against any agreement that does not meet his six tests, and Tory hard Brexiters led by Jacob Rees-Mogg also threatening to vote his deal, May's hopes of winning a "motion of approval" in parliament would seem fade fast. In a threatening way, the ten deputies of the Ulster Unionst who support May's administration are saying that they will reject anything that could create a hard border in the Irish Sea.

Yesterday, Jo Johnson encouraged other Tory ministers to follow him outside the government if they felt like him. "I think it's so important that it's up to the MPs to take a position." I did, if others think it's right for them to do it, fine on them, "he told BBC Radio 4 & # 39; s Today program. "This is one of the most important questions we will ever have in our political careers, and everyone is thinking about it a lot."

He acted, he said, because he felt a duty towards his constituents in Orpington. The highways through Kent would become a giant truck park and the economic damage would be felt by everyone. "My priority is actually just to be a deputy now at the desk to try and encourage the country to stop and think before doing something that is irrevocably stupid." Asks a new referendum, the former transport minister added: "My opinion is that this is so different from what was announced that it would be an absolute parody if we do not go back to people and ask them if they actually want to go out. from the EU on this extraordinarily desperate basis ".

Yesterday, Tory's former secretary of education, Justine Greening, added to the sense of a Tory party in war, snatching the deal proposed by May, saying he would have reached the exact opposite of what the Eurosceptics had always wanted: a return of sovereignty in the UK from the European Union. "The parliamentary stalemate has been clear for some time," said Greening. "It is crucial now that Parliament votes in favor of this plan, because it is the greatest tribute of sovereignty in modern times, but the government and parliament must recognize that we should give people the last word on Brexit. they can unlock the situation and choose from the practical options for the future of Britain now on the table. "

Parliamentarian Tory and Archie remake Anna Soubry spent much of yesterday's past talking to people at her Broxtowe constituency in Nottinghamshire, including some previous Brexiters, and said she noticed a breakthrough in ;public opinion. "There are people who express intimate Brexiters, the true believers, who are now saying that rather than having this horrible deal, which is neither fish nor foul, and with all the economic damage that will follow, we should rethink and give people a chance What Jo Johnson has articulated is what more and more people have begun to feel – that we can not go on with this because it is not what anyone, regardless of their original point of view, wants. "

With the other losers and Tory's losers who now oppose her, May's task is daunting. Downing Street's immediate task is to ensure that its deeply divided cabinet unites around the unresolved final element of a potential agreement with the EU: the legally complex issue of how to avoid a hard line between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Brexit. Downing Street knows it's in a race against time. May is desperate to present a motion in the House of Commons before Christmas, in the hope that, somehow, it will pass. The number 10 was written in pencil at a cabinet meeting at the beginning of this week, probably on Tuesday. But disagreements remain among its senior ministers on how the UK would exit the so-called backstop agreement, under which the entire United Kingdom would remain in the EU customs union until no commercial agreement will be reached between the United Kingdom and the European Union. Several government ministers are dissatisfied with what they fear will be formulated in a confused way in the withdrawal agreement that fails to draw a clear path to exit the anti-stop. They want to see full legal advice and want guarantees that the EU will not be able to stop us from getting rid of the EU system permanently, so the UK can enter into its commercial agreements.

Michael Gove, Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt have concerns and others, such as Penny Mordaunt, Esther McVey and Andrea Leadsom, have taken their positions into consideration.

Downing Street is concerned, not just of further resignation by ministers and ministers, but is worried that if an agreement is not made within the next two weeks, the entire timetable to push the reams of withdrawal legislation through the parliament before March 29 next year, it will become too tight to manage.

The agreement must also satisfy the 10 deputies of the DUP, which support the May government. Trade unionists are deeply suspicious of the fact that what is cooked would create the hard border in the Irish Sea which they were promised would never be established due to Brexit and which they can not accept as it would separate the Northern Ireland substantially from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Tory's whips know that any parliamentary vote on a Brexit deal will be too close to be called. As a result, they have courted the support of Labor MPs in constituencies that they believe can support a decent deal, not least because their constituents are completely fed up with waiting for the Brexit who voted more than two years ago.

The Brexit divides the Laborers, probably, as deeply as the Tories. In addition to a handful of Labor Labor laborers like Kate Hoey and Graham Stringer, who seem confident to support the May deal to get the United Kingdom out because it's what they've been wanting for some time, there are about a dozen others that might be tempted to challenge your party and support the prime minister.

One is Gareth Snell, a Labor MP from Stoke-on-Trent Central, who voted at 70:30 to leave. On Friday, at the center of his constituency, the predominant view of voters was that parliamentarians should hurry up with Brexit.

Sitting in the Potteries pantry in downtown Stoke on Friday, Paul Walker, a cleaner, said he was sick of talking about delays and second referendums, because the country had huge problems with immigration that Brexit would help to solve. "Just keep going," he said. "If we have another vote, there will be riots." Of all the promises they break, this would be the greatest of all. "

Local Orpington Frieda McClorey



Orpington local Frieda McClorey hopes there will be another referendum. Photo: Eleni Courea for the observer

Snell will wait to see the offer for sale but says that it is not excluded that it can vote for what is proposed. "If the PM returns with a customs agreement that protects production and enrols us for a proper trade agreement, I think we should consider it because I'm not sure we can get a better deal by March 29 next year."

In another sign of the Labor divisions, Jeremy Corbyn, himself a longstanding critic of the EU, has been subjected to heavy criticism from the rest of the party in his own party after having made sure to close the option of a second referendum that could keep the United Kingdom in the EU. Asked yesterday if he agreed with Johnson's call for a new referendum, supported by many of his remaining MPs, Corbyn said, "Not really, no, the referendum has taken place. where we bring people together, we bring people together around the principles of our economy, our rights and we do not turn this country into a sort of offshore tax haven on the same lines that Donald Trump might want. "

While more than two years of negotiations on Brexit are almost over, Tories, Labor and the country seem more hopelessly, and in many cases, more uncertain than ever.

Back in Orpington, Jo Johnson's members took note and are seriously considering the position taken by their parliamentarian. Frances, 72, says: "I do not know what I think anymore, both my husband and I decided to leave because we do not want to be governed by Brussels and I am strongly against a European army, but I heard that Jo Johnson resigned for Brexit , and it seems to me that it could come to another referendum because there is no other way of solving things … Theresa May is resolutely moving forward with whatever she wants to do regardless of it.If we have another referendum, I'm not sure what vote for this time.The situation is so unstable and I just want my children and grandchildren to have what's best for them. "

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