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Jo Johnson resignation ‘a big disappointment’ for universities

Image: Andrew Parsons/I-images

Jo Johnson’s resignation just six weeks into his second stint as universities and science minister has prompted disbelief and disappointment in higher education circles.

On 5 September, the prime minister’s brother took to Twitter to announce that he would be stepping down as the Conservative MP for Orpington and universities and science minister, saying he was “torn between family loyalty and the national interest” and calling it an “unresolvable tension”.

Johnson is the third universities minister to leave the post in less than a year. His first period in the role lasted from May 2015 to January 2018, when he joined the Department for Transport as a minister. He was replaced by Sam Gyimah, who spent 11 months in the role before quitting in protest over Brexit at the end of November 2018. Chris Skidmore then took up the role but was replaced by a returning Johnson on 24 July.

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