Jeremy Hunt walks out of Boris Johnson's cabinet after turning down defence post

The former foreign secretary told the new PM that he would not take sacked Penny Mordaunt's job

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Wednesday 24 July 2019 19:04
Jeremy Hunt: Boris will be a great Prime Minister

Former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has quit the government after rejecting a move to defence secretary, telling Boris Johnson he would not take sacked Penny Mordaunt's job.

The former Tory leadership contender, who lost out to Mr Johnson by a margin of two-to-one on Tuesday in the race to succeed Theresa May, said that he would have been willing to stay on as foreign secretary.

But he rejected demotion to defence secretary, a role which Ms Mordaunt had held for less than three months before her dismissal by the new PM.

His departure comes despite him announcing shortly after his defeat in the leadership race that Mr Johnson would make "a great prime minister"

Mr Hunt had served on the Tory frontbenches since 2005 and was a fixture in the cabinet throughout the Conservative-led governments of David Cameron and Theresa May.

A slew of his supporters from the leadership race, including prominent Brexiteer Liam Fox, were also removed from the government.

Mr Hunt said: "I would have been honoured to carry on my work at the Foreign Office, but understand the need for a new PM to choose his team.

"Boris Johnson kindly offered me another role but after nine years in Cabinet and over 300 cabinet meetings, now is the time to return to backbenches from where the PM will have my full support."

Mr Hunt said he now intended to be a "good dad" to his three children, all of whom had been born during his stint in the cabinet.

He said he was "truly humbled" to have received the votes of one-third of Conservative members in the leadership race.

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