Defence secretary Penny Mordaunt says 'I hope I have longer than a few weeks'

DEFENCE secretary Penny Mordaunt has said she hopes to last ‘longer than a few weeks' in her job when Britain’s new prime minister is in post.

Monday, 22nd July 2019, 3:40 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd July 2019, 7:19 pm
Penny Mordaunt. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The MP for Portsmouth North told the Sunday Times Magazine she hopes to remain in her cabinet job - but has not ruled out a bid to become prime minister herself in the future.

Speaking to Sunday Times Magazine, Ms Mordaunt said: ‘I hope I have longer than a few weeks.

‘But even if I haven’t, you can do a lot in a few weeks.'

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The MP, who backed Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative party leadership race and not the bookies favourite Boris Johnson, added: ‘Boris knows me, he’ll know who I am...he knows I’m a team player.’

Her comments come as several ministers have expressed their unwillingness to serve under Mr Johnson.

Sir Alan Duncan resigned from the cabinet on Monday, while Chancellor Philip Hammond and justice secretary David Gauke have announced their intention to resign.

When asked about her decision not to stand in the race, as had been widely expected, Ms Mordaunt said she was more concerned about her future prospects.

She told the Sunday magazine: ‘I don’t so much think “what if?”, but we’ll see what the future holds.’

​The need for party unity factored into Ms Mordaunt's decision not to run, saying she she was ‘aware’ there was support for her to make a leadership bid from fellow MPs.

She said: ‘We need to pull people together, and that factored in my decision about who I’ve backed and my decision not to run.'

The 46-year-old said ‘in the short term’ she was working on a consultation on the role of law in war and a review of quality of life issues for members of the armed services.

She said: ‘In the short term - and I’m thinking, just in case, very short term - the things I am going to set in train deal with the lawfare issue...so before I’m off, that consultation will be out of the door.’

The review of quality of life for armed services personnel will look at issues ranging from housing to childcare, the honorary Royal Navy commander said.