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Ben Wallace to quit as Defence Secretary and stand down as MP at next election
15 July 2023, 15:42 | Updated: 15 July 2023, 20:01
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has confirmed he will leave the House of Commons at the next general election.
The Cabinet minister and member for Wyre and Preston North told The Sunday Times: "I’m not standing next time."
It follows reports he had intended to resign as defence secretary.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to make an autumn reshuffle to refresh his top ministers ahead of next year's general election.
Autumn could prove to be the end of Wallace's long stint at the Ministry of Defence, for which he has won plaudits for his handling of the UK response to the Russia-Ukraine war, The Times reports.
Mr Wallace is the longest continually-serving minister in the Government - having worked under five prime ministers since 2014.
He was widely tipped to enter the first Conservative leadership race last year - but declined to do so despite being the clear favourite to replace Boris Johnson.
The Defence Secretary is known for his forthright manner - showcased last week when he said that Ukraine should be more grateful to the UK for the weapons it has provided to the war-torn nation.
Mr Zelenskyy hit back, saying: "I don't clearly understand the questions. We were always grateful to the UK, to the prime ministers and to the minister of defence."
Mr Zelenskyy said British people have "always supported" his country's war effort against the Russian invasion, adding that he was "grateful".
He went on: "I didn't know what he [Mr Wallace] meant and how else I should express my words of gratitude."
Joking, Mr Zelenskyy added: "We could get up in the morning and express our words of gratitude personally to the minister."We are grateful to the UK."
Rishi Sunak distances himself from Defence Secretary’s Ukraine comments