READ IN FULL: Sir Alan Duncan's letter of resignation as Foreign Office minister
Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan has resigned from the frontbench ahead of the new Prime Minister taking over later this week. Read his full letter to Theresa May.
“Dear Prime Minister,
“It is customary for all Ministers to stand down on the departure of a Prime Minister, and I am writing to resign now in anticipation of the change on Wednesday. I am doing so a couple of days early in order to be free to express my views in advance of you relinquishing office.
“Despite playing an active role in your leadership campaign I had not sought further ministerial office, but remain deeply grateful to you for recalling me to the colours three years ago.
“I have served with two very different Foreign Secretaries, holding responsibility for 77 countries across all of the Americas, Europe, Russia, Turkey, and Central Asia.
“I was pleased to build a strong relationship with Turkey in the immediate aftermath of the coup attempt. I have re-set our relationship with Argentina and established additional flights to the Falklands; have put the UK in the forefront of international co-operation on Venezuela; have negotiated the eviction of Julian Assange from the Ecuador embassy, and then re-launched our relations with Ecuador itself.
“I have played my part in handling our vexed relationship with Russia, and in helping ensure last year’s Western Balkans summit in London was such a success. Perhaps most fulfilling has been the steady nurturing of UIK engagement in Central Asia, where a personal focus on Uzbekistan’s reform path helped lead to the release of a raft of political prisoners and the admission to the country of the BBC, the Economist and Reuters.
“Rather less successfully, it was disappointing that our efforts to secure an agreement on the future of Cyprus failed, and I remain deeply upset that some fruitful discussions I had initiated about the possible release of Nazanin Ratcliffe were brought to such an abrupt halt.
“The Foreign Office deserves far more recognition (and resources!) for the excellent work it does for our country, and I salute all who work in it with such integrity.
“The UK does so much good in the world. It is tragic that just when we could have been the dominant intellectual and political force throughout Europe, and beyond, we have to spend every day working beneath the dark cloud of Brexit.
“On a heartfelt person note, I have known you and Philip for over forty years, throughout which you have both displayed faultless dignity and an unstinting sense of duty. I am only sorry that your three years as Prime Minister have been brought to an end. You deserved better, but please take lasting comfort from the knowledge that your self-esteem can, and will forever, far exceed that of your critics.”