“He’s extremely loyal to Boris, but obviously they deeply disagree with each other over Europe,” said Andrew Gimson, author of “The Adventures of Boris Johnson.” “I don’t think it is Shakespearean, although there is a deep difference.”

Younger and more cerebral than his bombastic brother, Jo Johnson followed a similar career path to the prime minister’s, but they are not at all the same person, Mr. Gimson said. In a family that features two reality television regulars (his journalist sister, Rachel, and his father, Stanley), he is decidedly lower key.

“Jo is totally different from Boris,” Mr. Gimson said. “He doesn’t generally seek publicity, whereas Boris always wants to be at the center of everything.” But the younger brother did seem to have some of the ambition gene passed on by Stanley Johnson, 79, an environmental campaigner and former European Union official.

A onetime journalist and Paris correspondent for The Financial Times, Jo Johnson never made the mark his noisier brother did with his entertaining but never reliably accurate articles for The Daily Telegraph about the European Union. But the family resemblance was instantly recognizable, and he sometimes bridled when asked whether he was related to Boris.

In an intensely competitive family, he was more academically successful than his flamboyant elder brother. Both men attended Britain’s most famous and elite school, Eton College, and then Oxford University, but Jo Johnson secured a first-class degree — realizing for himself one of the thwarted ambitions of his brother, who just missed out on one.

According to one version of events, after Jo Johnson won the degree, it was left to Rachel Johnson, 54, to inform Boris. “Have you heard the bad news about Jo?” she is said to have asked.

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