Two Government Ministers Quit In Fresh Blow For Rishi Sunak

The prime minister was forced into an emergency mini-reshuffle after James Heappey and Robert Halfon's stood down.
Rishi Sunak during a visit to BAE Systems, Submarines Academy for Skills and Knowledge in Barrow-in-Furness.
Rishi Sunak during a visit to BAE Systems, Submarines Academy for Skills and Knowledge in Barrow-in-Furness.
WPA Pool via Getty Images

Two ministers have quit the government in another blow for Rishi Sunak.

Armed forces minister James Heappey and skills minister Robert Halfon are also standing down as Tory MPs at the general elections.

Their announcements mean the beleaguered prime minister has been forced into a mini-reshuffle.

Heappey, who revealed earlier this month that he was quitting as an MP, posted a picture of himself leaving the Ministry of Defence for the final time this afternoon.

The Wells and Mendip Hills MP posted on X (formerly Twitter): “I’ve loved every minute as MinAF in this incredible department. Our Armed Forces & MOD civil servants are the very best of us. Representing them in Parliament & around the world over last 4.5 years has been an amazing privilege.

“From the first COBR on Covid-19 to the most recent Ukraine Donor Contact Group last week in Ramstein via Kabul, Kyiv, Kosovo, Khartoum and the Southern Red Sea. It’s been an incredibly busy four and a half years.

“But the work isn’t done. Ukraine needs our support now as much as ever. Perhaps even more so. Their’s is a fight for the future of Euro-Atlantic security and so we must continue to lead the world in the breadth & bravery of our support.

“Thanks also to the fantastic civil servants who work so hard across the Defence enterprise from our world beating scientists to those who do the hard yards procuring the stuff our armed forces need to those who work on policy in the MOD itself.”

Halfon said that after 23 years as the MP for Harlow, “it is time for me to step down”.

He is the 63rd Conservative MP to announce that he is quitting parliament as the opinion polls continue to indicate the party is heading for a heavy defeat at the general election.

In his resignation letter to the PM, he said: “I believe that across the country there is quiet admiration for your work ethic, integrity and ability to solve complex problems faced by our country.

“I look forward to continuing to support you wholeheartedly from the backbenches in the weeks and months ahead.”

Leo Docherty will replace Heappey as armed forces minister, while Luke Hall has been appointed to the Department for Education following the departure of Halfon.

Other moves in the mini-reshuffle triggered by the resignations include Nus Ghani becoming minister for Europe at the Foreign Office and Alan Mak becoming a junior minister jointly in the Department for Business and Trade and the Cabinet Office.

Kevin Hollinrake, who as Post Office minister held a junior ministerial role, has now been promoted to minister of state rank in the Department for Business and Trade.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Gullis and Angela Richardson have been made deputy chairs of the Conservative Party.


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