Jo Johnson resigns as universities minister

The brother of the prime minister has dramatically resigned from the cabinet over Brexit

Universities minister Jo Johnson has quit politics, saying he is “torn between family loyalty and the national interest”.

Johnson is the younger brother of the prime minister and has served in his cabinet as minister of state for universities, science, research and innovation since July.

He will resign as a minister and as member of parliament for Orpington.

In a tweet, Jo Johnson said he could not reconcile “unresolvable tension” over the direction of the government in regard to exiting the European Union.

The high-profile frontbencher has been a popular figure in higher education and has twice served as universities minister. His first stint in the post lasted three years before he resigned under Theresa May over her handling of Brexit negotiations.

His resignation means there will have been six university ministers in five years.

He has opposed plans put forward under the Augar report and has called for more flexible visas for international students studying in the UK.

Angela Rayner, shadow education secretary, said: “Boris Johnson poses such a threat that even his own brother doesn’t trust him.

“We have now had four higher education ministers in two years – just the latest sign of the chaos that the Tories have caused to education and the threat that a disastrous No Deal Brexit poses to our colleges and universities.”