British PM Boris Johnson's brother Jo resigns from Parliament

'In recent weeks I’ve been torn between family loyalty and the national interest,' Jo Johnson wrote. Jo is opposed to a no-deal Brexit.

Sara Rubenstein ,

Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Jo Johnson
Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Jo Johnson

In a surprising move, Boris Johnson's younger brother Jo Johnson announced on Thursday that he is resigning from his positions as Tory MP and minister in what The Guardian called "an extraordinary blow" to Boris Johnson's premiership.

The younger Johnson, 47, wrote on Twitter: "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."

Jo leaves the government on the background of his growing discomfort with the government's position on carrying through with a no-deal Brexit and mere days after 21 Conservative MPs were expelled from the party for supporting measures to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Prime Minister Johnson remarked on his brother's decision: “Look, people disagree about the EU. The way to unite the country, I’m afraid, is to get this thing done. That is the reality. Jo doesn’t agree with me about the European Union, because it’s an issue that obviously divides families and divides everybody.”

Jo Johnson has served as an MP for the Orpington constituency in Kent since 2010. He resigned from a Conservative government once before, in 2018, when he quit in protest of Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan, asserting that a second referendum was necessary.

“Brexit has divided the country,” he wrote at the time. “It has divided political parties. And it has divided families, too.”

Jo is still loyal to his older brother in other issues apart from Brexit judging by his statement to The Sun: “What is so clearly in the national interest is everything the government is doing in its strong, one nation domestic policy agenda: more police on the streets, more doctors and nurses in our hospitals, a welcoming face to scientists and international students,” Jo said. "That’s exactly what a Conservative prime minister should be doing and what Boris does so well.”