Grant Shapps Becomes Defence Secretary As Rishi Sunak Reshuffles His Cabinet

Astonishingly, it will be his fifth cabinet job in less than a year.
Grant Shapps arrives in Downing Street ahead of an expected Cabinet reshuffle.
Grant Shapps arrives in Downing Street ahead of an expected Cabinet reshuffle.
Stefan Rousseau - PA Images via Getty Images

Grant Shapps has been appointed defence secretary as Rishi Sunak carries out a mini-reshuffle of his cabinet.

He replaces Ben Wallace, who formally stood down after four years in the role this morning.

Astonishingly, it will be Shapps’ fifth cabinet role in the past 12 months.

This time last year he was transport secretary, but in October became home secretary for just six days following the resignation of Suella Braverman.

Rishi Sunak then appointed him business secretary when he became prime minister later that month, before making him secretary of state for energy security and net zero in February.

Shapps has been replaced in that job by children’s minister Claire Coutinho, a member of the 2019 intake of Tory MPs and a close ally of the PM.

Shapps said he was “honoured” to take on his new role and added: “I’d like to pay tribute to the enormous contribution Ben Wallace has made to UK defence and global security over the last four years.

“As I get to work I am looking forward to working with the brave men and women of our Armed Forces who defend our nation’s security. And continuing the UK’s support for Ukraine in their fight against Putin’s barbaric invasion.”

Ben Wallace announced last month that he would be standing down as defence secretary at the next cabinet reshuffle.

In his resignation letter to the prime minister this morning, he said he had “taken the decision to ask that I be allowed to step down” from the job he has held since 2019.

He said: “I won my seat in 2005 and after so many years it is time for me to invest
in the parts of life that I have neglected, and to explore new opportunities.

“Thank you for the support and your friendship. You and the Government will
have my continued support.”

He also called on the government to boost defence spending as the world becomes “more insecure and more unstable”.

In his reply, Sunak said Wallace had “served our country with distinction”.

He said: “I fully understand your desire to step down after eight years of exacting ministerial duties.

“As you say, the jobs you have done have required you to be available on a continuous basis.

“But I know you have more to offer public life both here and internationally. You leave office with my thanks and respect.”

Sunak is expected to carry out a wider reshuffle later in the year.


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