Sunak hails outgoing Defence Secretary Ben Wallace’s ‘distinguished’ career
Ben Wallace has officially resigned as defence secretary as Rishi Sunak prepares to name his replacement.
In a statement to the prime minister, the outgoing cabinet secretary said it had been a “privilege” to serve Mr Sunak and his predecessors.
Mr Wallace, the MP for Wyre and Preston North, has been in the role since 2019 and has overseen the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan and the UK’s response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier in the summer Mr Wallace said that he would stand down as an MP at the next election and that he expected to be replaced as defence secretary in the prime minister’s next reshuffle.
Reports say Mr Sunak will choose Mr Wallace’s successor as defence secretary later today.
Jeremy Quin, the Cabinet Office minister, John Glen, the Treasury minister, and defence minister James Heappey have been linked with the job.
Others in the frame include Liam Fox, who previously served in the role and Grant Shapps, the current energy secretary.
Wallace: An ‘honour’ to serve alongside MoD colleages
In his resignation letter to Mr Sunak, Mr Wallace also referenced his time as security minister where he was involved in the UK’s response to the Salisbury poisonings.
He says it has been an “honour” to serve alongside Armed Forces colleagues, adding their professionalism throughout the past four years had been “first class”.
Wallace thanks the PM for his investment and continued support of the ministry of defence and thanks Mr Sunak for his leadership.
“As I finish my tenure, I can reflect that the Ministry of Defence that I leave is now more modern, better funded and more confident than the organisation I took over in 2019,” he adds.
“As well as being active around the world we have also invested in prosperity at home. I am proud that I have secured GCAP, AUKUS, NCF, National shipbuilding and the Defence and Security industrial strategies that will secure thousands of British jobs for our young people many years into the future.
“The Ministry of Defence is back on the path to being once again world class with world class people. The United Kingdom is respected around the world.”
Matt Mathers31 August 2023 08:58
Breaking: Ben Wallace officially resigns
Ben Wallace has officially resigned as defence secretary.
In a letter to the prime minister, Mr Wallace said it had been a “privilege” to serve Mr Sunak and his predecessors.
Matt Mathers31 August 2023 08:41
Runners and riders to replace Wallace
After weeks of speculation over who might replace Mr Wallace, the BBC and multiple newspapers are reporting the prime minister will on Thursday appoint a new defence secretary.
Armed forces minister James Heappey and chief secretary to the Treasury John Glen have both been linked with the role.
The Daily Telegraph also suggested former defence secretary Liam Fox is a possibility.
Dr Fox, who served in the role under prime minister David Cameron between 2010 and 2011, was forced to resign after allowing his friend and best man Adam Werritty to take on an unofficial and undeclared role as his adviser.
The senior Tory MP backed Mr Sunak in last summer’s Conservative leadership race.
Adam Forrest takes a closer look at the favourites to replace Mr Wallace:
Matt Mathers31 August 2023 08:34
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live politics coverage.
Ben Wallace is expected to be replaced as defence secretary – we’ll be covering this story and others from Westminster and elsewhere.
Stay tuned for all the latest updates.
Matt Mathers31 August 2023 08:27