Mr Jo Johnson, the younger brother of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has resigned as an MP and minister, saying he is “torn between family loyalty and national interest”, Igbere TV reports.
The minister of State for Universities and Science, and MP for Orpington, Southeast London, cited an “unresolvable tension” in his role as reason behind his decision, in a tweet sighted by Igbere TV on Thursday.
“It’s been an honour to represent Orpington for 9 years & to serve as a minister under three PMs. In recent weeks I’ve been torn between family loyalty and the national interest – it’s an unresolvable tension & time for others to take on my roles as MP & Minister. #overandout”, he wrote.
A spokesman for Downing Street (Office of Boris Johnson), said the prime minister would like to thank Jo Johnson for his service. “He has been a brilliant, talented minister and a fantastic MP”, he said.
“The PM, as both a politician and brother, understands this will not have been an easy matter for Jo. The constituents of Orpington could not have asked for a better representative”, the spokesman added.
A former cabinet minister, David Gauke, who once lost to the MP, quoted the tweet and wrote; “Lots of MPs have had to wrestle with conflicting loyalties in recent weeks. None more so than Jo. This is a big loss to Parliament, the government and the Conservative Party.”
On her part, Labour’s shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner wrote: “Boris Johnson poses such a threat that even his own brother doesn’t trust him.”
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said the resignation showed that the “centre of gravity in the Conservative party is shifting rapidly”.
But, in a tweet sighted by Igbere TV, Rachel Johnson, the sister of Boris and Jo Johnson, said “the family avoids the topic of Brexit, especially at meals, as we don’t want to gang up on the PM”.