Grant Shapps Emerges as Potential Replacement as Rishi Sunak Prepares Cabinet Shuffle

Grant Shapps Emerges as Potential Replacement as Rishi Sunak Prepares Cabinet Shuffle

Rishi Sunak is gearing up for a small-scale Cabinet reshuffle following Ben Wallace’s formal resignation as Defence Secretary.

Wallace, whose departure had been announced last month, confirmed his exit in an exchange of letters with the Prime Minister.

Grant Shapps in the Spotlight

The role of Defence Secretary seems to be headed Grant Shapps’ way, which in turn implies broader changes within the Cabinet.

Among the potential contenders for the role were Armed Forces Minister James Heappey and Chief Secretary to the Treasury John Glen.

However, there was also talk of an unexpected choice: former Defence Secretary Liam Fox, who had previously held the position during David Cameron’s tenure as Prime Minister from 2010 to 2011.

Dr. Fox’s earlier resignation was due to permitting his friend and best man, Adam Werritty, to assume an unofficial and undeclared advisory role.

Wallace’s Contributions and Political Trajectory

Ben Wallace, having served under three different prime ministers in his capacity as Defence Secretary, earned acclaim for overseeing the UK’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He was a close ally of Boris Johnson and, at one point, a favored figure among Tory members.

Despite once being an early frontrunner in the Conservative leadership race to succeed Mr. Johnson, he opted out of contention last year.

A Missed Opportunity: Nato and the Commons Exit

Earlier this summer, there was speculation that Mr. Wallace might become the next head of NATO.

However, his aspirations were thwarted by opposition from Joe Biden and France, who insisted that the next NATO chief should hail from an EU state.

Subsequently, Mr. Wallace announced his intention to leave the House of Commons at the next election, following a controversy where he suggested Ukraine should display more ‘gratitude’ for NATO support.

Wallace’s Parting Words and Sunak’s Praise

In his letter to Rishi Sunak, Ben Wallace expressed optimism about the future of the Ministry of Defence, asserting that it was on its way to becoming world-class once more, with exceptional personnel.

He emphasized the UK’s growing global respect for its armed forces, especially in the wake of the Ukraine conflict.

He underscored the importance of not reverting to an era where defense was considered a discretionary government expenditure.

Sunak, in response, commended Wallace’s service, acknowledging his departure with “thanks and respect.”

Commentary

Ben Wallace’s resignation marks a notable development within the UK government, particularly given his role in handling the response to the Ukraine crisis.

Grant Shapps’ apparent elevation to Defence Secretary suggests that the Prime Minister values his abilities and will rely on him in this critical position.

The possibility of Liam Fox’s return to this role raises questions about the government’s willingness to embrace individuals with previous controversies in their political histories.

Overall, these changes could have significant implications for the direction of the Conservative government under Boris Johnson’s leadership.