JEREMY HUNT has quit the Cabinet after refusing a demotion offered by Boris Johnson.
The Tory leadership runner-up was offered the opportunity to continue serving in Cabinet but in a new role. After rejecting the demotion thought to have been offered by the new Prime Minister, Mr Hunt wrote on Twitter: “I would have been honoured to carry on my work at the FCO but understand the need for a new PM to choose his team. BJ kindly offered me another role but after nine years in Cabinet & over 300 cab meetings now is the time to return to backbenches from where PM will have my full support.
“I’ve been a cabinet minister for every hour my three gorgeous children have been alive. So whilst it may seem strange for someone who just tried to become PM (& is a terrible cliche) I have decided now is the time for the biggest challenge of all – to be a good dad!”
It is believed Mr Johnson invited his leadership rival to be his new Defence Secretary.
Forming his Cabinet, the new Prime Minister has purged a large number of MPs who supported Mr Hunt in the leadership contest.
Brexiteers Penny Mordaunt and Liam Fox have also been sent to the backbenches.
On Tuesday afternoon it was announced Mr Johnson had won the Tory leadership election after he secured 92,153 votes – 66.4 percent – to defeat Mr Hunt, who was backed by 46,656 Tory members.
Mr Johnson then officially took over as Prime Minister earlier this afternoon after he was officially appointed to the role by the Queen.
Addressing the media from the steps of Downing Street after his meeting, Mr Johnson said his new Government would prove the “doubters, doomsters and gloomsters” wrong.
He added: “It has become clear that there are pessimists at home and abroad who think after three years of indecision that this country has become a prisoner to the old arguments of 2016 and in this home of democracy we are incapable of honouring a democratic mandate.
“And so I am standing before you today to tell you the British people that those critics are wrong.”
Re-affirming his campaign pledge to take the UK out of the EU by October 31, Mr Johnson said the Halloween deadline would remain, “not ifs or buts”.
He said: “We will do a new deal, a better deal that will maximise the opportunities of Brexit while allowing us to develop a new and exciting partnership with the rest of Europe based on free trade and mutual support.
“I have every confidence that in 99 days’ time we will have cracked it.
“But you know what we aren’t going to wait 99 days, because the British people have had enough of waiting.
“The time has come to act, to take decisions, to give strong leadership and to change this country for the better.”