Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt out as defence secretary as Boris Johnson officially becomes prime minister

CITY MP Penny Mordaunt has announced she is heading to the backbenches and will no longer be defence secretary.

Wednesday, 24th July 2019, 5:56 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th July 2019, 6:57 pm
Penny Mordaunt leaves Downing Street on March 25, 2019 (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

An ardent Brexiteer, Ms Mordaunt was in the role for 85 days but will no longer hold the government role.

It is not clear whether she quit or was pushed out but The Sun’s political editor Tom Newton Dunn said he understood she has been sacked.

She tweeted: ‘I’m heading to the backbenches from where the PM will have my full support, as will my successors at @DefenceHQ  & @WomenEqualities.

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‘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.’

It comes after Boris Johnson officially took over as prime minister today.

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Fellow Brexiteer David Davis, former Brexit secretary, said: ‘What a pity to hear of @PennyMordaunt's resignation. She would've been a fantastic secretary of state.’

Penny Mordaunt leaves Downing Street on March 25, 2019 (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Education secretary Damian Hinds – MP for East Hampshire covering Petersfield – is returning to the backbenches, he said on Twitter.

Mr Hinds said: ‘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.’

Theresa May left Number 10 for the final prime minister's questions of her premiership at just after 11am.

Chancellor Philip Hammond quit the government, along with development secretary Rory Stewart in the wake of Mr Johnson being elected.

Mr Johnson is set to carry out a no-deal Brexit if an agreement cannot be reached by October 31.

He said: ‘The people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts because we are going to restore trust in our democracy 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.’