Boris Johnson's brother Jo quits British government over Brexit 'family loyalty' conflict

Jo Johnson has announced he is quitting politics as his brother Boris pursues a hardline Brexit strategy 
David Hughes, Press Association

Boris Johnson's brother has quit the British government, saying he had been "torn between family loyalty and the national interest".

Jo Johnson, who had been a senior minister attending meetings of his brother's Cabinet, said there was an "unresolvable tension".

He announced on Twitter he was quitting his role as Universities Minister and would stand down as MP for Orpington.

Mr Johnson said: 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"

Read More: MPs push for Brexit extension to be agreed

Jo Johnson is pro-European and has previously called for a second referendum, a position that puts him at odds with the prime minister, who has vowed to leave the EU on October 31 with or without a Brexit deal.

Labour MEP Theresa Griffin tweeted: "The first example of a politician stepping down to spend less time with their family?" 

Former Tory MP David Gauke tweeted: "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."

Mr Gauke was one of 21 MPs to have the whip removed by the Conservative Party after rebelling against the party in the Commons this week.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage tweeted: "The centre of gravity in the Conservative Party is shifting rapidly."

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