5 September 2019Rory O'Neill

UK IP minister Jo Johnson resigns for second time

Jo Johnson, UK minister responsible for IP and younger brother of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has indicated he is to resign from government and as a member of parliament.

Johnson was appointed by his older brother as minister of state for universities, research, and science in late July.

It was his second time in the post after he previously resigned due to a disagreement with former prime minister Theresa May’s position over Brexit.

The Johnson brothers have also disagreed over Brexit, currently the most divisive question in British politics.

Unlike his older brother, Jo Johnson campaigned for a vote for the UK to remain in the EU and has been a critic of the Vote Leave campaign in which his brother was a leading figure.

Announcing the news on Twitter, Johnson said that he was “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 said.

It is not yet clear whether he has already tendered his resignation, or will step down at the next general election, which many expect to be held in the imminent future.

According to the Press Association, a spokesperson for the prime minister’s office said that Boris Johnson, “as both a politician and brother understands this will not have been an easy matter for Jo”.

The prime minister further hailed his brother as “a brilliant, talented minister and a fantastic MP”, the spokesperson said.

The resignation comes as Boris Johnson faces heavy criticism this week after losing his first four parliament votes as prime minister. Yesterday, September 4, the UK House of Commons, the lower chamber of the British parliament, passed legislation blocking a no-deal Brexit on October 31.

The prime minister had said he was prepared to take the UK out of the EU without a deal on that date.

Boris Johnson, who has dubbed the legislation the “surrender bill”, has said he will seek a general election to resolve the impasse, but yesterday failed to win the two-thirds majority support in the House of Commons for such a move.

In Jo Johnson’s previous resignation statement in November 2018, he said that the “reality of Brexit has turned out to be so far from what was once promised”, and called for a second referendum on whether the UK should leave the EU.

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More on this story

19 August 2019   Jo Johnson, the younger brother of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has been chosen as the new minister for intellectual property.
11 September 2019   Chris Skidmore looks likely to resume his role as the UK IP minister, following Jo Johnson’s announcement last week that he will resign from government.