Anne Milton quits as education minister as Boris Johnson wins Tory leadership race

Posted On: 
23rd July 2019

Education minister Anne Milton has resigned her post ahead of Boris Johnson taking over as Prime Minister and Conservative party leader.

Boris Johnson, Anne Milton and David Davis in 2016
PA Images

The Guildford MP quit minutes before it was announced that the ex-foreign secretary had recorded a landslide victory against Jeremy Hunt to take over from Theresa May.

The Skills and Apprenticeships minister said her decision to step down from the frontbench post came over “grave concerns about leaving the EU without a deal”.

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Mr Johnson pledged during his leadership campaign to take the UK out of the European Union “do or die” by the 31 October deadline.

In a letter to Mrs May, Ms Milton said: “I have always believed that our departure from the European Union should be centred around future co-operation, and I had sincerely hoped that we would be able to leave the EU in March with a deal. 

“I regret very much that this was not possible. 

“However, I have grave concerns about leaving the EU without a deal, and so I feel it is time for me to return to the backbenches.”

“It is important to me to be free to do what I feel is right for the country and my constituents.

“This has not been an easy decision to make but I believe strongly that Parliament should continue to play a central role in approving a deal, and that we must leave the EU in a responsible manner.”

Her decision comes a day after Sir Alan Duncan stood down as a Foreign Office minister over Mr Johnson's Brexit stance. He later failed in a bid to instigate a confidence vote in the Prime Minister-designate.

Elsewhere, David Gauke and Rory Stewart confirmed that they were stepping down as Justice Secretary and International Development Secretary respectively.

The pair had previously ruled out serving under Mr Johnson over his openness to pursuing a no-deal exit.



Speaking moments after his victory was announced, Mr Johnson said: "We are going to energise the country.

"We are going to get Brexit done on 31 October and take advantage of all the opportunities it will bring with a new spirit of can do.

"We are once again going to believe in ourselves, and like some slumbering giant we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self-doubt and negativity."

Follow all the latest announcements as the newly elected Conservative leader forms his new government here.