Jeremy Hunt sacked as Boris Johnson takes brutal revenge on Tory opponents
Jeremy Hunt has been sacked from the Cabinet as Boris Johnson took revenge on his Tory opponents.
The Foreign Secretary - who was comprehensively beaten by Mr Johnson in the Tory leadership race - left the Government after turning down the chance to become Defence Secretary.
Mr Johnson also axed a number of Mr Hunt's supporters in a dramatic Cabinet clearout within two hours of becoming Prime Minister.
Announcing his departure on Twitter, Mr Hunt said: "I would have been honoured to carry on my work at the FCO but understand the need for a new PM to choose his team. BJ kindly offered me another role but after 9 yrs in Cabinet & over 300 cab mtgs now is the time to return 2 backbenches from where PM will have my full support."
Cabinet heavyweights Penny Mordaunt and Liam Fox - who were both vocal supporters of Mr Hunt during the Conservative leadership campaign - also lost their jobs, along with David Mundell, Greg Clark, Damian Hinds, James Brokenshire, Karen Bradley and Jeremy Wright.
Immigration minister Caroline Nokes, who attended Cabinet even though she was not a Secretary of State, also lost her job in the biggest government clearout since Harold Macmillan's infamous 'Night of the Long Knives' in 1962.
The sackings came after Philip Hammond, Rory Stewart, David Gauke and David Lidington all handed in their resignations to Theresa May before she left Downing Street for the last time. All four are opponents of a no-deal Brexit.
In addition, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told Mr Johnson that he wanted to return to the backbenches.
Announcing her departure from the Cabinet on Twitter, Ms Mordaunt - who had only been Defence Secretary since May - said: "I’m heading to the backbenches from where the PM will have my full support, as will my successors at @DefenceHQ & @WomenEqualities. Thank you to everyone who’s helped me get things done, especially our Armed Forces and civilians in defence for the last 85 days. We achieved much."
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox tweeted: "Sadly, I will be leaving the Government. It has been a privilege to have served as Secretary of State for International Trade these past 3 years.
"The world-class trade department we have built leaves the UK uniquely well-positioned to forge our new trading relationships beyond Europe and create a truly Global Britain.
"But we must first undertake the momentous task of delivering on the instruction of the British people and leave the European Union. I look forward to supporting @BorisJohnson and the government from the backbenches."
Scottish Secretary David Mundell, one of Mr Johnson's most outspoken critics, said: "Disappointed but not surprised to be leaving the Scotland Office after 9 years. Will, of course, support the new Government, but as I said to PM this afternoon I will also hold him to account on his commitments to the Union. Hope there’s still room on the backbenches!"
Communities Secretary Mr Brokenshire, who lost his job despite supporting Mr Johnson's leadership bid, said: "After 13 years service on the front bench including 9 in Government will be heading to the backbenches. Has been a huge privilege to serve, but looking forward to being released from collective responsibility and campaigning on issues that matter to me and my constituents."