Thursday 5 September 2019 11:37 am

Jo Johnson quits Boris Johnson's Tory party to spend less time with his family

Boris Johnson’s brother has quit as minister and MP, saying he is “torn between family loyalty and the national interest”.

Jo Johnson resigned as universities and science minister this morning, citing “unresolvable tension” for the decision. He will stand down as MP of Orpington at the next election.

Read more: Boris Johnson’s first PMQs: The verdict

Johnson announced his resignation via tweet, saying: “It’s been an honour to represent Orpington for nine 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.”

He signed off #overandout.

Johnson is the 23rd Tory to have left or been thrown out of the party in recent days, following the likes of Justine Greening, Alistair Burt and Guto Bebb.

Phillip Lee sensationally crossed the floor as the Prime Minister took to the despatch box, joining the Liberal Democrats instead.

Others, including former chancellor Philip Hammond and former justice secretary David Gauke, have had the whip removed.

Gauke tweeted: “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.”

Labour MP Wes Streeting tweeted: “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.”

A Number 10 spokesman said: “The Prime Minister would like to thank Jo Johnson for his servie. He has been a brilliant and 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.”

This is the second time in months the pro-Remain Johnson has quit, having resigned from former PM Theresa May’s Cabinet as a minister back in November.

Read more: Could there be a UK general election in 2019?

Economists have hiked the chances of a no-deal Brexit under the current Prime Minister, who has vowed to take the UK out of the EU with or without a deal come 31 October.

Johnson is trying to force a UK general election for 15 October to secure a parliamentary majority large enough to prevent MPs from blocking a no-deal Brexit.

This is a breaking news story and more will follow shortly.