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Ben Wallace Has Resigned As Defence Secretary

Former Defence Secretary Ben Wallace (Alamy)

2 min read

Ben Wallace has confirmed his resignation as the secretary of state for defence.

He was replaced by Grant Shapps, the former energy security and net zero secretary.

Wallace said in June that he would stand down as defence secretary when Sunak next carries out a reshuffle, and not stand at the next general election. A full reshuffle is now expected later in the autumn. 

In his resignation letter to Sunak today, Wallace said he had the "privilege of serving you and your predecessors in the task of protecting this great country and keeping its citizens safe".

In response, Sunak told Wallace had had "served your country with distinction" and praised his role in the UK response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, writing: "You saw, before others did, what Vladimir Putin's true intentions in Ukraine were."

Wallace, the Conservative MP for Wyre and Preston North, has served as defence secretary for four years having first been appointed by former prime minister Boris Johnson.

He has become increasingly popular with Tory MPs and party members in that time, having been praised for his role in the UK's withdrawal from Afghanistan as well as his part in the government response to Putin's attack on Ukraine.

Wallace was tipped as a potential candidate to replace Johnson as Conservative party leader and prime minister last year, but decided against entering the race to succeed him.

Johnson paid tribute to his "friend" Wallace in a tweet, describing him as a "fine Defence Secretary who got so many calls right - especially on Ukraine".

Wallace thanked Sunak for his support for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) both as Prime Minister and chancellor of the exchequor, saying the MOD was now a "more modern, better funded and more confident" organisation than when he became defence secretary four years ago.

He urged Sunak to continue giving UK defence the financial backing it needs, and warned against a "discretionary spend" approach at a time of growing global instability. "I genuinely believe that over the next decade the world will get more insecure and more unstable. We both share the belief that now is the time to invest," Wallace said. 

The now former defence secretary will continue his role as an MP from the backbenches until the next election. 

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