PENNY MORDAUNT has shocked Westminster by announcing she will not serve in Boris Johnson’s first Cabinet as Prime Minister.
The Brexiteer, who supported Jeremy Hunt in the Tory leadership race, had been widely tipped by political pundits to be up for promotion under the new Prime Minister. However, after meeting with Mr Johnson, the outing Defence Secretary announced on Twitter she has lost her position in Cabinet. She tweeted: “I’m heading to the backbenches from where the PM will have my full support, as will my successors at @DefenceHQ & @WomenEqualities. “Thank you to everyone who’s helped me get things done, especially our Armed Forces and civilians in defence for the last 85 days. We achieved much.”
Ms Mordaunt has joined Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade and Greg Clark, Business Secretary in leaving the frontbench since Mr Johnson was confirmed as Prime Minister.
Dr Fox stated it has been a “privilege” to serve in Theresa May’s Government over the past three years.
He wrote on Twitter: “Sadly, I will be leaving the Government. It has been a privilege to have served as Secretary of State for International Trade these past three years.”
Dr Fox added the department is “well-positioned” for Britain to form new trade deals with the EU and rest of the world.
Dr Fox added he would continue to support Mr Johnson from the backbench.
He added: “The world-class trade department we have built leaves the UK uniquely well-positioned to forge our new trading relationships beyond Europe and create a truly Global Britain.
“But we must first undertake the momentous task of delivering on the instruction of the British people and leave the European Union. I look forward to supporting @BorisJohnson and the government from the backbenches.”
Mr Clark said it has been an “honour” to be in the Cabinet and stated Mr Johnson “is right to appoint a new team”.
He wrote on Twitter: “It has been an honour to serve the country as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for the last three years.
“I warmly congratulate Boris Johnson on becoming Prime Minister. He is right to appoint a new team for a new premiership and I wish him and them well for the vital work ahead.”
Damian Hinds, Education Secretary has also left the Government.
Mr Hinds wrote on Twitter: It has been the greatest privilege to serve as Education Secretary. Thank you to the brilliant team at @educationgovuk. And thank you to everyone working in education and children’s care, for all you do.
“I look forward to supporting the government from the backbenches.”
Meanwhile Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary is also understood to have left the Government, according to Sky News.
After being asked by The Queen at Buckingham Palace to form a Government, Mr Johnson used his first speech as Prime Minister to insist that Brexit will be delivered, and that he will give the country “the leadership it deserves”.
Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, the Tory leader said he would meet the October 31 deadline “no ifs or buts”.
He said: “I am standing before you today, to tell you the British people, that those critics are wrong – the doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters are going to get it wrong again.”
He added: “And we are going to fulfil the repeated promises of Parliament to the people and come out of the EU on October 31, no ifs or buts.
“And 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.”