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Lawmaker Jo Johnson, British prime minister's brother, resigns

By
Clyde Hughes
Jo Johnson,  shown here leaving 10 Downing Street in London in July, announced Thursday he's leaving Parliament. File Photo by Neil Hall/EPA-EFE
Jo Johnson,  shown here leaving 10 Downing Street in London in July, announced Thursday he's leaving Parliament. File Photo by Neil Hall/EPA-EFE

Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Jo Johnson, the younger brother of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, quit Parliament Thursday as Conservatives continue to lose members and pressure mounts over the looming deadline to leave the European Union.

Johnson said in a Twitter message Thursday he'd struggled with his duties as a member of Parliament and supporting his brother.

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"It's been an honor to represent Orpington for nine years and to serve as a minister under three PMs," Jo Johnson tweeted. "In recent weeks I've been torn between family loyalty and the national interest - it's an unresolvable tension and time for others to take on my roles as MP and minister."

Jo Johnson worked as a financial journalist after being employed as an investment banker and became former Prime Minister David Cameron's policy unit director. Cameron named him Cabinet Office minister while Theresa May appointed him transport minister.

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Johnson left May's cabinet in 2018 after calling Brexit negotiations a failure and Boris Johnson appointed him business minister.

The prime minister is working to contain fallout from his decision last month to suspend Parliament until mid-October. He lost his majority Parliament after a Conservative Party member left, and he also removed 21 other members.

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Former Labor Party lawmaker Luciana Berger, who left the party in February, joined the Liberal Democrats Thursday. She had been an independent since leaving the Labor Party.

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Berger said she was compelled to join the Liberal Democrats because of their stand against leaving the European Union, calling the current situation "a national crisis."

"The Liberal Democrats are unequivocal in wanting to stop Brexit and are committed to securing Britain's future as a tolerant, open and inclusive society," Berger said. "I am joining Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats today, in the national interest, to offer a vital, positive alternative to Johnson and Corbyn and help build a future that our country deserves."

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