Boris Johnson has responded to his brother Jo's announcement this morning that he is quitting politics.
The British Prime Minister's brother said he had been “torn between family loyalty and the national interest”.
A Number 10 spokesman said: “The Prime Minister would like to thank Jo Johnson for his service.
“He has been a brilliant, talented minister and a fantastic MP. 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.”
It is understood that Jo Johnson will stand down as an MP at the next election.
Following Jo Johnson’s resignation from her other brother’s Government, Rachel Johnson responded to claims her family’s arguments over Brexit were becoming increasingly intense.
“I’m afraid to say this is rubbish,” she tweeted in response to the Evening Standard’s Londoner diary column.
“I said last night at a charity do that the family avoids the topic of Brexit especially at meals as we don’t want to gang up on the PM!”
I’m afraid to say this is rubbish. I said last night at a charity do that the family avoids the topic of Brexit especially at meals as we don’t want to gang up on the PM! https://t.co/IDXB1DrEN0— Rachel Johnson (@RachelSJohnson) September 5, 2019
'Devastating from Jo Johnson': British PM’s brother resigns
The British Prime Minister’s brother Jo Johnson has announced he is quitting politics.
Boris Johnson’s brother said 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.
Jo Johnson is pro-European and has previously called for a second referendum, a position that puts him at odds with the British Prime Minister, who has vowed to leave the EU on October 31 with or without a Brexit deal.
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— Jo Johnson (@JoJohnsonUK) September 5, 2019
Reacting to the announcement by Jo Johnson, Labour MP Ian Murray described the decision as "devastating".
“Even Boris Johnson’s brother knows that he can’t be trusted to make decisions in the national interest. This is devastating from Jo Johnson.”
Even Boris Johnson’s brother knows that he can’t be trusted to make decisions in the national interest. This is devastating from Jo Johnson. https://t.co/d9HnMrTUzZ— Ian Murray MP (@IanMurrayMP) September 5, 2019
A number of other UK politicians have taken to social media to share their take on the shock resignation.
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson pondered whether some Conservative MPs might be regretting Theresa May's exit.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said that the "centre of gravity" within the party had shifted.
The centre of gravity in the Conservative party is shifting rapidly. https://t.co/upOYLwb4Xq— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) September 5, 2019
Former Tory MP David Gauke - one of 21 MPs to have the whip removed by the Conservative Party after rebelling against the party in the Commons this week - said that many other MPs had been wrestling with conflicting loyalties.
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. https://t.co/UfZRxeoISk— David Gauke (@DavidGauke) September 5, 2019
Labour MP Wes Streeting said that he respected Jo Johnson's integrity, decency and courtesy.
Whatever our disagreements, I very much respect Jo’s integrity and always appreciated his decency and courtesy in our discussions on higher education policy. The Conservative Party is losing too many One Nation Tories. https://t.co/O0xTjeg5wt— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) September 5, 2019
Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom wished Jo Johnson well for the future and praised his "expertise and knowledge".
It has been a pleasure to work with @JoJohnsonUK, both in Parliament for nine years and most recently as a Minister at BEIS; his expertise and knowledge of the area were a huge asset to the department. I wish him all the best.— Andrea Leadsom MP (@andrealeadsom) September 5, 2019