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Boris Johnson’s brother quits British PM’s cabinet

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Toby Prince with Agency News

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s younger brother, Jo, announced his resignation as a minister and Conservative lawmaker on Thursday.

He said he felt “torn between family loyalty and the national interest.

“It’s been an honour to represent Orpington (in south-east England) for 9 years and to serve as a minister under three PMs,” tweeted pro-EU Conservative Jo Johnson, 47.

“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,” he wrote, adding the hashtag #overandout.

Jo Johnson supported his brother’s government by voting against a bill to stop a no-deal Brexit this week and by backing his call for a snap election.

Fellow pro-EU Conservative David Gauke replied to Jo Johnson that many lawmakers had “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,” Mr Gauke tweeted.

Mr Gauke this week joined opposition parties in voting to block Boris Johnson from withdrawing Britain from the EU without an exit deal on Oct. 31.

He said the Conservatives told him on Wednesday that he was “barred from being re-selected” as a parliamentary candidate for the party after he opposed the government in a key vote on the no-deal Brexit bill on Tuesday.

Ian Murray, a lawmaker from the main opposition Labour party, said the younger Johnson’s resignation was “devastating.”

“Even Boris Johnson’s brother knows that he can’t be trusted to make decisions in the national interest,” Mr Murray tweeted.

Jo Johnson campaigned for Remain in the 2016 Brexit referendum and has backed calls for a second referendum.

Boris Johnson, 55, has pledged to take Britain out of the EU on October 31, with or without an exit deal.

In spite of their differences over Brexit, Jo Johnson was handed a post in the new cabinet when his brother became prime minister in late July.

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