'I wish I had sent the watch to you'

THIS is the full text of Michael Mates's resignation letter:

Dear Prime Minister,

When I came to see you earlier today, it was to reiterate to you what I told your office some days ago, namely that, if the continuing saga over the representations I made to the Attorney General were embarrassing and damaging the Government, I would stand aside.

I believe that this is now the case and, although I have done nothing improper, the daily leaking of letters and so-called quotes from unknown sources - most of them wildly inaccurate - is causing such cumulative damage to the important work of Government, that I must do what I can to bring it to an end. I therefore wish to go.

The past 14 months have been the happiest and most fulfilling of my political life.

Working for Paddy Mayhew, a wise and brave Secretary of State, and being part of a Government facing huge challenges, which we are starting to overcome, has been an unforgettable experience.

Thank you for giving me the chance to serve. I shall now do what I can to put my part of the turmoil to rest. You need and deserve the staunch support of the whole party.

It goes without saying that you have mine: now and for the future.

In retrospect, I rather wish I had sent the watch with its now famous message to you.

Yours ever,

Michael

The Prime Minister wrote in reply:

Dear Michael,

Thank you for your letter today.

As I explained when you asked to see me, I fully accept that you acted with complete propriety in raising with the Attorney General the concerns that had been put to you about Mr Nadir's case.

I made it clear, as I have done in Parliament, that I have no criticisms of your actions on that account.

I do, however, understand the reasons why you have decided you must stand down from the Government, and I respect them.

I am most grateful for all the work you have done in the Northern Ireland Office since the election. You have handled the very difficult security portfolio with great fortitude and skill, as well as dealing with finance and personnel issues.

It is a job that makes immense demands, which you have met fully and effectively. I know that Paddy Mayhew shares that view.

I am sorry that you had to stand aside from the Government in circumstances like this. But I am sure that you took the right decision with your usual sense of duty.

I am most grateful to you for your warm words of continuing support.

Yours ever,

John

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Financial Director / FD / Senior Finance Manager

Up to 70k DOE: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Financial Director ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company has been manufacturing high quali...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £35,000+

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is the fairest onl...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Production Planner is require...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen