British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is not very popular at the moment. Having lost his government’s majority, Johnson saw Parliament block his bid to crash out of the EU without a deal, and stop his push to call an early election.
And now, his own family is turning against him.
Boris’s younger brother Jo Johnson, who is the business minister, announced he was quitting on Thursday morning.
In a tweet, Johnson said: “It’s been an honour to represent Orpington for 9 years and 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 and time for others to take on my roles as MP & Minister.”
The resignation will pile more pressure on the prime minister, who is struggling to contain criticism from members of his own party over his handling of Brexit. More than 20 rebel Tory MPs voted against the government on Wednesday to block an early election.
It was only six weeks ago that Jo Johnson faced severe criticism for accepting the role of business minister in his brother’s Cabinet.
The younger Johnson, who voted Remain, quit Theresa May’s Cabinet last year because he disagreed with the deal she had negotiated with the EU. After resigning, Jo Johnson campaigned for a second referendum to give the public a final say on Brexit.
However, despite his differences on what should happen with Brexit, Jo Johnson accepted a Cabinet position within his brother’s government.
Within minutes of the announcement, some Westminster observers highlighted an interview Jo Johnson gave a couple of years ago, suggesting he and his brother would never suffer a family schism like David and Ed Miliband, who battled each other for the leadership of the Labor Party in 2010.
“We don’t do things that way. That’s a very left-wing thing,” the younger Johnson said. “Only a socialist could do that to his brother, only a socialist could regard familial ties as being so trivial as to shaft his own brother."
Cover: File photo dated 17/08/10 of Jo Johnson, brother of London Mayor Boris Johnson, who David Cameron is bringing into Downing Street as his head of policy. Issue date: Thursday April 25, 2013. See PA story POLITICS Johnson. Lewis Whyld/PA Wire URN:16363241 (Press Association via AP Images)