LONDON Ė The UK prime ministerís brother Jo Johnson announced on Thursday his resignation as a member of Parliament, saying he was torn between loyalty to his family and the national interest.
His shock resignation comes as his brother Boris Johnson, who at 55 is eight years his senior, struggled to command the House of Commons, the UKís lower parliamentary chamber, where the government was coming up against staunch opposition to its Brexit plan.
ďItís been an honour to represent Orpington for 9 years & to serve as a minister under three PMs. In recent weeks Iíve been torn between family loyalty and the national interest Ė itís an unresolvable tension & time for others to take on my roles as MP & Minister,Ē Jo tweeted.
He had served as MP for Orpington from 2010-2019 as a member of the ruling Conservative Party and was later the universities and science minister in his brotherís cabinet.
He previously quit as a minister over Brexit in 2018 under the leadership of Theresa May.
The news broke at a time when the PM was grappling with Parliament over the UKís plan to leave the EU on Oct. 31.
The UKís opposition parties, led by Jeremy Corbynís Labour Party, have wrested the parliamentary agenda from Boris Johnsonís government and have passed a bill designed to prevent the PM from pursuing a no-deal Brexit should he fail to land an agreement with the EU.
They also shot down the PMís proposal to slate snap elections on Oct. 15, when Parliament is set to reconvene after the five-week prorogation controversially requested by the Tory leader.
Johnson has already lost his working majority in the Commons, having removed the whip from 21 rebel Tories who voted against the government.
Opposition figures were quick to jump on the latest departure from the government benches.
ďBoris Johnson is such a threat that even his own brother doesnít trust him,Ē said Angela Rayner, Labourís shadow education secretary.