Brexit: Boris Johnson's brother resigns as Tory minister and MP

In a fresh blow to the British PM, Jo Johnson quits, citing a conflict between family loyalty and the national interest.

    Jo Johnson was a junior business minister in his brother's administration [Toby Melville/Reuters]
    Jo Johnson was a junior business minister in his brother's administration [Toby Melville/Reuters]

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's brother, Jo, has resigned as a junior minister and said he would step down as a member of parliament, citing a conflict between family loyalty and the national interest.

    "It's been an honour to represent Orpington for nine years and to serve as a minister under three PMs," Jo Johnson said.

    "In recent weeks, I've been torn between family loyalty and the national interest - it's an unresolvable tension and time for others to take on my roles as MP and minister," he said.

    It is the latest blow to the prime minister, whose authority and ability to govern has been diminished by a rebellion among Conservative MPs over his refusal to rule out a "no-deal" withdrawal from the European Union.

    Johnson has now lost three consecutive votes in the House of Commons after losing his governing majority.

    The prime minister's brother, Jo, has held a variety of junior ministerial roles in the past five years and has spoken in favour of a second Brexit referendum.

    David Gauke, one of the 21 MPs kicked out of the Conservative Party this week for rebelling against Johnson, 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."

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

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies