School of Politics and International Relations

Jo Johnson quits: When Britain’s political families don’t see eye-to-eye

5 September 2019

Siblings, even parents, have represented differing views in British politics - but it's not always fractious. Ed and David Miliband had risen through the ranks of the then-Labour government to seats at the Cabinet table and were seen as the party's future. In the subsequent party leadership election that year, both siblings decided to run - with newspapers breathlessly reporting their rival bids. Tim Bale, a Professor of Politics at Queen Mary University of London who has studied Ed Miliband's time as Labour leader, told the BBC it has been suggested the pair's relationship never fully recovered from the race. "On the personal level, by all accounts, the relationship between the two brothers and their respective families took quite a knock", he said. And there were political repercussions as well. “Ed was never able to shake off the accusation that he had somehow done something wrong or was just weird in taking on and beating his older brother,” Professor Bale added.
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Professor Bale also discussed the Jo Johnson resignation on LBC radio (Thursday from 1:35:56)