Ben Wallace to step down as defence secretary at next cabinet reshuffle
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Defence secretary Ben Wallace has confirmed he will step down from the role at the next cabinet reshuffle. The Tory MP will step down from his defence secretary role after four years.
While he told the Sunday Times he would not stand at the next general election, he ruled out leaving "prematurely" and triggering a by-election. The MP has served as defence secretary under three prime ministers - Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak.
Mr Wallace played an important role in the UK’s response to the Russia-Ukraine war. In his resignation letter, Mr Wallace said he was quitting frontline politics due to the toll it had taken on his family.
He said: “While I am proud to have worked with so many amazing people and helped contribute to protecting this great country, the cost of putting that ahead of my family is something I am very sad about."
Mr Wallace currently serves as the MP for Wyre and Preston North, a constituency which will disappear at the next election due to upcoming boundary changes. He told the Sunday Times he would not seek a new constituency when his time is up in the role.
While there is no confirmed date for the next reshuffle, sources have told the BBC it will take place in September with Sunak reportedly planning a huge cabinet shake-up.
Ahead of his resignation, Mr Wallace caused a stir after he attempted to take back his comments that Ukraine needed to show gratitude to its western backers in the war.
He told the Nato summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, last week: “Whether we like it or not, people want to see a bit of gratitude.I told them that last year, when I drove 11 hours to be given a list, that I’m not like Amazon.”
On Saturday night (July 15), the defence secretary tweeted: “My comments about how best to support Ukraine caused a lot of interest and were somewhat misrepresented.
“For the record, as someone who has been at the forefront of mobilising support for Ukraine, I have discussed the challenges that may arise as we work towards the common goal of helping Ukraine get what it needs to defeat this illegal invasion. I said that Ukraine sometimes needs to realise that in many countries and in some parliaments there is not such strong support as in Great Britain.”
Mr Wallace’s resignation comes after he revealed was no longer in the running to be the next secretary general of Nato. According to a number of reports, Mr Wallace was hopeful to become the new secretary general.
However, Jens Stoltenberg announced he would continue in the role for another year, dashing Mr Wallace’s chances to become the chief civil servant of Nato.