UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace Resigns: PM Announces Replacement

Head Of UK Defence Resigns

Government minister; Ben Wallace. Credit:

After serving as defence secretary since 2019, the government minister has announced his resignation.

In a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, dated August 30, 2023,  Ben Wallace has resigned from his post as defence secretary. The letter has been published in full on the website.

Dear Prime Minister,
Last month marked my fourth year as Secretary of State for Defence. It also marks the ninth year as a Minister. I have had the privilege of serving you and your predecessors in the task of protecting this great country and keeping its citizens safe. As you know that responsibility carries with it a 24/7 duty to be available at almost no notice. In my time as both Security Minister and at Defence, I have been able to contribute to the Government’s response to a range of threats and incidents.

From Wannacry, the 2017 terrorist attacks, the Salisbury Poisonings, Afghanistan, Sudan and Ukraine, it has been an honour to serve alongside the men and women of our Armed forces and intelligence services who sacrifice so much for our security.

The last four years has seen our Armed Forces and their leadership shine through. Whether it was the evacuation of Kabul, our Covid response, Ukraine or Sudan, the professionalism of our people has been first class. The investment you made in Defence as Chancellor and the continued support you have shown as Prime Minister has been key to enabling the Ministry of Defence to deliver for Britain. I am personally very grateful for your leadership.

As I finish my tenure, I can reflect that the Ministry of Defence that I leave is now more modern, better funded and more confident than the organisation I took over in 2019. As well as being active around the world we have also
invested in prosperity at home. I am proud that I have secured GCAP, AUKUS, NCF, National shipbuilding and the Defence and Security industrial strategies that will secure thousands of British jobs for our young people many years into the future.

The Ministry of Defence is back on the path to being once again world class with world class people. The United Kingdom is respected around the world for our Armed Forces and that respect has only grown more since the war in
Ukraine. I know you agree with me that we must not return to the days where Defence was viewed as a discretionary spend by Government and savings were achieved by hollowing out.

I genuinely believe that over the next decade the world will get more insecure and more unstable. We both share the belief that now is the time to invest. Ever since I joined the Army I have dedicated myself to serving my country.
That dedication however comes at a personal toll to me and my family.

After much reflection, I have taken the decision to ask that I be allowed to step down. I won my seat in 2005 and after so many years it is time for me to invest in the parts of life that I have neglected, and to explore new opportunities.

Thank you for the support and your friendship. You and the Government will have my continued support.
Yours sincerely,

PM’s Response

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak accepted the resignation and paid tribute to Wallace’s dedication and responded: ‘You have served our country with distinction. Your strategic foresight and clarity has been invaluable to our country and the security of our continent. You saw, before others did, what Vladimir Putin’s true intentions in Ukraine were. your determination to get Kiev weaponry before the Russians attacked has a material effect on the ability of the Ukranians to thwart the invasion.

The PM concluded with the words: ‘You leave my office with my thanks and respect.’

New Defence Secretary Announced

The mini reshuffle has led to a new appointment. the official government website announced: ‘The Rt Hon Grant Shapps was appointed Secretary of State for Defence on August 31. Previously he was Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero from February 7, 2023 to August 31, 2023.

As the new Secretary of State for Defence his duties will include.

  • Strategic operations and operational strategy, including as a member of the National Security Council
  • Defence planning, programme and resource allocation
  • Strategic international partnerships: US, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, NATO
  • Nuclear operations, policy and organisations
  • Strategic communication

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.