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Ben Wallace Takes Aim At Rishi Sunak Over Resignation As He Endorses Liz Truss

3 min read

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has continued his attacks on Rishi Sunak's decision to resign from government after endorsing Liz Truss to be the next Tory leader and prime minister.

Wallace this morning said quitting Cabinet was not "the right thing to do" and that ministers who wanted Boris Johnson gone should have waited until they were able to trigger a confidence motion through the 1922 Committee, rather than quit in order to force his resignation.

Sunak's resignation, as well as that of former Health Secretary Sajid Javid, kickstarted a wave of ministerial resignations which ultimately led to Johnson reluctantly agreeing to resign.

Wallace said Tory MPs were due to vote on whether to change party rules so that another confidence vote could be held quickly, allowing them to express their desire for Johnson's exit, and that ministers who wanted a new leader should have waited for that process to take place.

"Fundamentally, there was going to be a ballot to change the rules so you can have another confidence vote. There was a way for people to do that," he told LBC on Friday.

"I didn't want Boris Johnson to leave but nevertheless, if those people did, they could have taken that mechanism."

In a swipe at Sunak's resignation, he said: "Keeping the markets calm is probably another important thing if you're worried about the cost of living crisis."

The Defence Secretary's comments follow an interview with The Sun in which he used pointed remarks to criticise Sunak's decision to resign earlier this month.

"What would have happened that day if the markets had crashed?” he said, adding that Sunak had the responsibility of being "the guardian of the economy".

"I don’t have the luxury as Defence Secretary of just walking out the door – I have roles in keeping this country safe," Wallace told the newspaper.

Wallace's endorsement of Truss is a major boost for the Foreign Secretary, who is currently the favourite to win the support of Tory party members and become Prime Minister on 5 September.

Wallace, who gained popularity within the party through his response to the crises in Ukraine and Afghanistan, had been tipped as a strong candidate to succeed Johnson but decided not to run.

The Defence Secretary cited Truss's promise to cut tax as soon as she arrives in Downing Street as a reason for backing her, and described her as "authentic, honest and experienced".

In another swipe at Sunak, Wallace in his interview with the newspaper said Truss was not running a "polished Hollywood production leadership campaign".

He also claimed that Johnson overruled Sunak to give him more money to spend on defence.

“The Prime Minister intervened, overruled, and insisted that defence got a multi-year settlement," he said.

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