Jo Johnson quits Ministerial role at BEIS

Jo Johnson has stepped down from his role as under-secretary at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), just six weeks after his appointment.

Jo Johnson quits Ministerial role at BEIS

Jo Johnson had only been in place as under-secretary for science for six weeks. Image: UK Parliament 

Johnson, the younger brother of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was appointed to his BEIS post in late July as part of what has been one of the most extensive cabinet reshuffles in recent history.

Others appointed to the Department during the reshuffle included Andrea Leadsom, as Business and Energy Secretary; Kwasi Kwarteng, as Energy and Clean Growth Minister; and Lord Ian Duncan, as Minister for Climate Change.

In a Twitter post this morning (5 September), Jo Johnson announced that he has relinquished his positions as under-secretary and as MP for Orpington.

“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 “#OverAndOut”.

Jo Johnson’s announcement comes amid one of the most turbulent weeks in British politics of the past decade.

Since Parliament was resumed after the summer recess, Boris Johnson’s Government has lost its majority in the House of Commons, with 21 Tories standing against Johnson’s plan to remove the UK from the EU on October 31, with or without a deal.

This paved the way for MPs to send a bill which would block a no-deal scenario to the House of Lords; a move which spurred Johnson to put forward a general election for October. However, MPs from other parties blocked this motion, stating that avoiding a no-deal Brexit scenario should be prioritised over a general election.

Reacting to Jo Johnson’s resignation, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas wrote: “There’s losing ministers – and then there’s losing ministers…”.

Environmental Audit Committee chair Mary Creagh MP added: “Jo Johnson standing down. Clearly can’t stomach his brother’s no-deal Brexit plans. The wheels have come off the Boris bus.”

Sarah George

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