Lord Young Resigns From Role As Government Whip In House Of Lords

29 August 2019, 11:03 | Updated: 29 August 2019, 13:22

Lord Young resigns from Johnson's government
Lord Young resigns from Johnson's government. Picture: PA

Lord Young quits government over PM's prorogue stance, becoming the first ministerial resignation in Boris Johnson's premiership.

The resignation of Lord Young of Cookham follows the PM's decision to suspend Parliament from the week beginning 9 September until 14 October.

George Young, a former Cabinet minister with David Cameron, leaves his role as Conservative whip in the House of Lords.

Although his decision was "not primarily about Brexit", he described Boris Johnson's "Do or Die" attitude towards leaving on 31 October as "rash" and was a reason for his decision.

In his resignation letter he expressed his concern over undermining parliament at such a significant time in the country's history.

He said: "I am very unhappy at the timing and length of prorogation, and its motivation."

The peer - who has served in parliament since 1974 - denied he was part of "any Remainer plot", saying his decision was purely personal and that he had not discussed it with anyone else.

Speaking directly to Boris Johnson he said: "Following the announcement that Parliament is to be prorogued in the week beginning September 9th, and not due to reconvene until October 14th, I am afraid I cannot continue to serve in your team in the Lords."

As a former Leader of the House of Commons in the Coalition Government, Lord Young said he helped restore power to the Commons at the cost of the executive and therefore could not ignore the Prime Minister's moves to prorogue parliament.

Lord Young had previously served under Thatcher, Major and Cameron's governments
Lord Young had previously served under Thatcher, Major and Cameron's governments. Picture: PA

The Oxford graduate and old-Etonian former banker was a junior minister under Margaret Thatcher and was made Transport Secretary by her successor John Major.

It comes as Ruth Davidson also quit as Scottish Conservative leader, citing "conflict" she had felt over Brexit.

Both Ruth Davidson's and Lord Young's decisions to quit will increase pressure on other ministers, such as Sajid Javid, Matt Hancock and Michael Gove who have all previously rubbished the idea of prorogation.