According to reports, Ben Wallace is debating leaving his position as defense secretary after four years, a decision that could result in his resignation as a member of parliament at the following election.
According to The Times, Mr. Wallace, a close ally of Boris Johnson who was instrumental in developing the UK’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is considering permanently leaving politics.
According to sources, he continues to support Rishi Sunak’s administration, and any action would be personal and unrelated to difficulties with the party.
Though it is known that he has not yet made up his mind, a source informed Sky News that he is likely to decide before the end of the month, which would require him to resign from his position as a member of parliament at the following election in 2024.
Since he had a 31-point victory against Labour in the most recent election as the MP for Wyre and Preston North, Mr. Wallace may not be among the top Tories concerned about holding onto their seats.
Once seen to be the front-runner to succeed then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson as Tory leader, Mr. Wallace twice turned down requests from colleagues to run in last year’s leadership elections in favor of staying in the Cabinet with Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak.
He recently became Downing Street’s preferred choice for the position of Nato secretary-general, and this was before it was revealed that the current leader, Jens Stoltenberg, would be staying on for an additional year in the position. According to some reports, US President Joe Biden personally rejected Mr. Wallace’s proposal despite Rishi Sunak’s lobbying efforts.
Later, Mr. Wallace downplayed the possibility of a future campaign to lead the organization, telling The Economist that there were “a lot of unresolved issues” within the military alliance and that “it’s not going to happen.”
The conflict in Ukraine and rising hostilities with Russia and China have overshadowed his tenure as defense secretary. Mr. Wallace ignited debate earlier this month when he said Ukraine should express “gratitude” for the military assistance it had received.
After the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, called it “absurd” for NATO to insist that there are still requirements for his country to complete before it can earn membership after the war with Russia is finished, Mr. Wallace made the remark.
Later, Mr. Zelensky stated: “I think we’ve always been appreciative of the UK. I’m not sure what he was saying or why we should be thankful in any other way.
Mr. Wallace, who is still well-liked within the Conservative ranks, has held the position of defense secretary under each of Mr. Johnson’s two successors after beginning the position as security minister under Theresa May.
He had previously worked as a whip and a junior minister in the Northern Ireland Office under David Cameron.
Over the past few weeks, rumors about this future in the Cabinet have grown.
John Glen, chief secretary to the Treasury, may be a front-runner for the position, according to The Times.