Rishi Sunak has praised Ben Wallace for a “distinguished” career following the Defence Secretary’s announcement he will resign at the next Cabinet reshuffle.
Mr Wallace, who has been Defence Secretary since 2019, will stand down as an MP at the next general election.
The Prime Minister said he would be sad to see Mr Wallace go but “I completely understand and sympathise” with his decision.
Mr Wallace played a key role in the UK’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
His Wyre and Preston North constituency will disappear at the next election after boundary changes and he said he would not seek a new seat.
Mr Wallace is believed to have told Mr Sunak on June 16 of his plans to stand down from Cabinet.
He told the Sunday Times his departure was due to the strain the job had put his family life under.
Speaking to broadcasters, the Prime Minister said “of course I am” when asked if he was sad to see his Defence Secretary go.
“Ben’s been a great Defence Secretary. I’ve enjoyed working with him and he’s got a track record he can be very proud of,” the Prime Minister said.
“But, look, he’s been in politics and public service for a very long time, and, as he said, he wants to be able to spend more time with his family, and as a dad myself I completely understand and sympathise with that.”
Mr Sunak said Mr Wallace had been “talking to me about this for a little while, I wish him well, he’s got a distinguished record in public service”.
The Prime Minister said the UK had been playing a global leadership role on security and defence matters.
“I saw that first-hand myself when I was at the Nato summit last week and I can see the respect that other countries have for the UK’s role, our leadership on defence matters, the fact that we have consistently invested in defence, the fact that we have led the conversation on supporting Ukraine.
“Those are all things that the British public should be really proud about, our country’s role.”
Meanwhile, foreign office minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said it would be a “privilege to serve” as Defence Secretary in response to a supportive industry analyst on Twitter.
Published: by Radio NewsHub