Wednesday 24 July 2019 3:04 pm

Tory minister resignations: David Lidington, Philip Hammond, Rory Stewart and David Gauke all quit

Boris Johnson’s victory in the race to become the UK Prime Minister has sparked a wave of resignations from current incumbents of cabinet positions – we sum up all of them here.

Read more: Boris Johnson wins race to be the next UK Prime Minister by a landslide

Cabinet Office minister David Lidington

David Lidington stepped down from the cabinet today (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Widely considered Theresa May’s right-hand man in her latter time as Prime Minister, David Lidington has handed in his notice.


The Cabinet Office minister will step down when May visits the Queen this afternoon to formally tender her resignation from government.

“I wrote to @BorisJohnson yesterday to congratulate him on his election, to wish him well & to say I’ve decided that after 20 yrs on the front bench it’s the right moment to move on,” Lidington tweeted today.

He added that he would join the backbenchers seeking to commit the UK to a deal to leave the EU, with Boris Johnson having vowed to depart with or without one by 31 October.

“I shall do all I can to help new govt secure a deal to allow an orderly departure from the EU,” he said.

Lidington also praised the civil service of which he was in charge, saying: “Huge thanks to the civil servants @cabinetofficeuk whom I’ve had the privilege to lead.

“The impartiality & professionalism of the civil service is one of the great strengths of our constitution. As is readiness of Ministers to encourage candid  even when unwelcome, advice.”


Johnson was recently criticised for failing to support the UK’s former ambassador to the US, Sir Kim Darroch, over leaked emails from 2017 containing criticisms of Trump.

The incident led to questions over whether ambassadors should remain impartial.

Johnson is set to announce his cabinet today, as well as reportedly preparing to make the architect of the Vote Leave campaign his top adviser.

Dominic Cummings is set to get the role later this afternoon.

Philip Hammond, chancellor of the Exchequer

Philip Hammond quit with a warning on no-deal Brexit for his successor

Erstwhile opponent of a no-deal Brexit, Philip Hammond was never going to want to serve in Johnson’s cabinet – and Johnson would not want him.

Hammond has warned repeatedly of the risks of a no-deal Brexit, with Brexiters leaping upon his claim it would cost the UK £90bn with accusations of hyperbole.

The Treasury boss confirmed he would leave 11 Downing Street today, but fired a final shot across the bows at Johnson in his resignation letter to Theresa May.

“We bequeath to our successors genuine choice, once a Brexit deal is done,” he wrote, a reference to the UK’s much-reduced public debt under his watch.

” “After a decade when the aftermath of the 2008-09 recession meant we had no choices, this is a luxury which our successors should use wisely.”

Anne Milton, education minister

Anne Milton has resigned as Boris Johnson wins race to become Prime Minister
Anne Milton has resigned as Boris Johnson wins race to become Prime Minister (Source: Getty)

Milton’s resignation letter outlined “grave concerns” over a no-deal Brexit.

She said she had “sincerely hoped” that the UK would be able to leave the EU in March with a deal.

The MP added that parliament must continue to have a role in the EU negotiations, saying the UK must leave the bloc “in a responsible manner”.

Milton has held several positions in government since 2010.

Milton wrote in her resignation letter: “I have always believed that our departure from the European Union should be centred aroudn future coopoeration, and I had sincerely hoped we would have been able to leave the EU in March with a deal in place.

“I regret very much that this was not possible. However, I have grave concerns about leaving the EU wiuthout a deal, and so I feel it is time for me to return to the backbenches.

“I believe strongly that parliament should continue to play a central role in approving a deal, and that we must leave the RU in a responsible manner.”

David Gauke, justice minister

David Gauke, justice minister, has resigned as Boris Johnson wins race to become Prime Minister
Anne Milton has resigned as Boris Johnson wins race to become Prime Minister (Source: Getty)

Milton’s resignation comes after justice minister David Gauke signalled his intention to quit to avoid backing a “humiliating” no-deal Brexit earlier this week.

Yesterday he wished the new PM his congratulations and called it “an honour to serve in cabinet” under outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May.

“Looking forward to returning to backbenches tomorrow, serving people of South West Hertfordshire,” he added.

He confirmed his resignation after May’s last Prime Minister’s Questions today.

Rory Stewart, development secretary

Rory Stewart resigned as international development secretary today as Boris Johnson prepared to become Prime Minister
Rory Stewart resigned as international development secretary today as Boris Johnson prepared to become Prime Minister (Source: Getty)

Rory Stewart appeared to confirm his own resignation yesterday from his role as the Conservative government’s secretary for international development.

He tweeted: “Congratulations @BorisJohnson on becoming Leader. Honour to serve in turn as Minister of Environment @DefraGovUK, Mid East +Asia @DFID_UK, Africa @FCO, Prisons @MoJGovUK + then Development Secretary in Cabinet +NSC.

“Backbench tomorrow serving Cumbria. Thank you all. More walking!”

Stewart had thrown his hat into the ring to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister on a centrist platform that failed to win enough MPs’ support.

On Twitter today he joked about a return to cabinet as an old man in 2045.

Read more: Businesses react to Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Earlier this week parliament effectively voted against a no-deal Brexit, by backing a bill that would recall MPs to parliament in the event that the Commons is suspended.

Johnson has not ruled out proroguing parliament, a step that would see him suspend the current session to avoid MPs blocking a no-deal Brexit.

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