POLITICS
31/01/2018 15:51 GMT | Updated 31/01/2018 20:45 GMT

Tory Minister Lord Bates Attempts To Resign From Government For Being Late

But Theresa May rejects the offer.

International Development minister Lord Bates tried to dramatically resign from the government - because he was late.

But in a twist, Theresa May later rejected the former MP’s offer.

The Conservative peer caused uproar and confusion in the Lords on Wednesday afternoon when he spoke up to announce he intended to quit.

“I have always believed we should rise to the highest possible standards of courtesy and respect in responding on behalf the government to the legitimate questions of the legislature,” he told peers.

“I am thoroughly ashamed of not being in my place and therefore I shall be offering my resignation to the prime minister with immediate effect.”

He had missed a question from Labour’s Baroness Lister of Burtersett - not something that would normally be seen as close to a resigning matter.

After Lord Bates walked out of the chamber,  Labour peer Barroness Smith insisted Lord Bates had no reason to resign for for the “minor discourtesy” and all that was needed was an apology. 

Lord Newby, the leader of the Lib Dems in the Lords, said Lord Bates should keep his job.

“Lord Bates resigns because he arrived a couple of minutes late to answer a question in the Lords. He is widely admired as a dedicated public servant and I hope he reconsiders his decision,” he tweeted.

As a minister of state in the Department for International Development, Lord Bates has responsibility for areas including the British overseas territories and the United Nations.

But a Downing Street spokesperson later said: “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.”