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Defence Secretary to ‘quit UK Government at next reshuffle and not stand again as MP’

15 Jul 2023 3 minute read
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace . Photo Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Ben Wallace has confirmed he plans to resign from the Cabinet at the next reshuffle and will not seek re-election as an MP after four years as Defence Secretary.

He told the Sunday Times he would stand down but ruled out leaving “prematurely” and thus triggering another by-election for the Conservatives to battle.

Mr Wallace, who survived three prime ministers as defence secretary, played a key role in the UK’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and was a close ally of Boris Johnson.

His Wyre and Preston North constituency will disappear at the next election after boundary changes and he said he would not seek a new seat.

“I went into politics in the Scottish Parliament in 1999. That’s 24 years. I’ve spent well over seven years with three phones by my bed,” he told the paper.

Mr Wallace had expressed an interest in standing for the role of Nato secretary-general before it was announced the current chief, Jens Stoltenberg, had been given another year in charge.

The minister told The Economist there were a “lot of unresolved issues” in the military alliance and “it’s not going to happen,” and he later downplayed the prospect of a future bid to run the organisation.


Last week, the Prime Minister shut down comments from Mr Wallace in which he suggested Ukraine should show “gratitude” for the military support it has been given.

Mr Wallace had made the remark after the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, branded it “absurd” for Nato to insist there were still conditions for his nation to meet before it can gain membership once the war with Russia is over.

Mr Zelensky later said: “I believe that we were always grateful to United Kingdom.

“I don’t know what he meant and how else we should be grateful.”

Popular within the Tory party, Mr Wallace is the longest continuously serving minister in Government, having been security minister under Theresa May before being promoted to Defence Secretary by Mr Johnson.

He was previously appointed as a whip in 2014 and a junior minister in the Northern Ireland Office in 2015 while David Cameron was prime minister.

Mr Wallace ruled himself out of the running for the Conservative leadership last year, despite being an early frontrunner in the race to replace Mr Johnson.

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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 year ago

Someone on the radio this week was suggesting that Ben Wallace would be a good fit for the next Secretary General of NATO after Jens Stoltenberg vacates the position. What, do you mean a guy whose diplomacy skills extend to publicly telling President Zelenskyy of Ukraine that he should be ‘more grateful’ and a guy who has been part of a government wilfully carrying out dehumanising activities and retracting basic human rights? Nobody from his government is fit for any job anywhere let alone such a critical post as this. God forbid and help us all.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 year ago

They flee like rats from a sinking ship. With Defence Secretary Ben Wallace quitting the cabinet after criticism triggering another by-election headache, is likely done as face saving exercise or ideological as they can either claim after that they left of their own accord or it was done to damage further Rishy Sunak floundering administration. Anyway, the Conservatives are going to hell on a hand cart. Let’s all help push.

#YesCymru 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 #PlaidCymru 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 #Conservatives 🇬🇧 #NastyParty 🇬🇧 #ToxicTories ☣️

Last edited 1 year ago by Y Cymro

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