Lords Bates returns to Government after dramatic resignation on chamber floor
A peer who dramatically quit the Government on the floor of the House of Lords yesterday has agreed to rejoin the frontbench.
Lord Bates stunned peers when he said he was “ashamed” to have been seconds late to the despatch box to answer a question and had decided to resign.
But last night Downing Street said his resignation was “unnecessary” and confirmed he would return to work for the Treasury and the Department for International Development.
"With typical sincerity, Lord Bates today offered to tender his resignation after missing the start of an Oral Questions session in the House of Lords, but his resignation was refused as it was judged this was unnecessary,” a spokesperson said.
“As a hard-working and diligent minister, it is typical of his approach that he takes his responsibilities to Parliament so seriously.
“He has received support from across the House and we are pleased that he has decided to continue in his important roles at the Department for International Development and HM Treasury."
Lord Bates made the astonishing move after he missed a question from Labour peer Baroness Lister on the freezing of benefits while taxes are being cut. It was instead taken by Tory chief whip Lord Taylor.
After a brief statement in which he said he would offer his resignation to the Prime Minister, Lord Bates left the chamber, prompting cries of "no" from shocked peers.
“I offer my sincere apologies to Baroness Lister for my discourtesy for not being in my place to answer her question on a very important matter at the beginning of questions.” he said.
“During the five years of which it’s been my privilege to answer questions from this despatch box on behalf of the Government I have always believed that we rise to the highest possible standards of courtesy and respect in responding on behalf of the Government to the legitimate questions of the legislature.
“I am thoroughly ashamed at not being in my place and therefore I shall be offering my resignation to the Prime Minister."
Labour peer Baroness Smith had said Lord Bates did not need to resign for the “minor discourtesy” and all that was needed was an apology.