London: On Thursday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson received a new blow when his brother Jo resigned from the government, saying he could no longer reconcile “family loyalty and national interest.”
Jo Johnson had made a strong campaign against Britain’s exit from the European Union in 2016, a position that put him at odds with his eldest and most famous brother, Boris.
But he took a job in his brother’s government as a minister of universities and science, a position he had previously held.
“It has been an honor to represent Orpington (a suburb of London) for nine years and serve as a minister of three prime ministers,” Jo Johnson tweeted.
“In recent weeks, I have been divided between family loyalty and national interest. It is an irresolvable tension and time for others to assume my roles as MP and minister.”
Like many families in Britain, the Johnson were deeply divided over Brexit: a third brother, Rachel, and his father Stanley also wanted to stay in the EU.
Stanley worked for the European Commission in the 1970s and then served as a conservative MEP, while Rachel unsuccessfully ran for the European Parliament in this year’s elections for the British party against the Brexit change.
The resignation of Jo Johnson, who like his brother Boris is a former journalist, comes after 22 parliamentarians left the ruling conservative party this week.
A deputy defected to the pro-European liberal Democrats and 21 were expelled for voting against the Prime Minister’s Brexit strategy.
His resignation comes the day after parliamentarians voted to legislate to prevent Boris Johnson from removing Britain from the European Union without a divorce agreement on October 31.
The opposition Labor Party took advantage of its departure.
Assistant Director Tom Watson tweeted: “Once again, the people who trust Boris Johnson least are the ones who know him best.”
Pollster Joe Twyman tweeted: “It will be a great Christmas lunch at Johnson’s house.”
BBC journalist David Cornock joked: “A rare case of a politician who gives up spending less time with his family.”