Former head of military Lord Houghton praises Penny Mordaunt's time as defence secretary

FORMER defence secretary Penny Mordaunt has been praised by the ex-head of the military after she was sacked from her frontbench role.

Friday, 26th July 2019, 12:11 pm
Updated Friday, 26th July 2019, 2:48 pm
Defence secretary Penny Mordaunt in Downing Street, London. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Lord Houghton, who as General Sir Nick Houghton was chief of the defence staff of the British Armed Forces from 2013-2016, said it was a ‘shame’ the Portsmouth North MP had been axed from the cabinet by prime minister Boris Johnson.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: ‘I think she was very well liked from her time being a junior minister.

‘Therefore there was already an established trust around her as an individual.

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‘I think she instantly had got the human dimension of the armed forces.

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He added that Ms Mordaunt, the first woman defence secretary, had ‘made some very promising early speeches about the need for defence to modernise’.

She was replaced by Ben Wallace, with Ms Mordaunt tweeting: ‘I’m heading to the backbenches from where the PM will have my full support.’

The reshuffle sees Gosport MP Caroline Dineage remain as care minister in the Department of Health and Social Care.

She said: ‘I’m delighted to have been asked to continue in my role as minister of state.

‘Boris Johnson has stated that adult social care will be one of his priorities as PM and I’m keen to help deliver vital reforms on this.’

Ms Dineage will continue to work alongside Matt Hancock, who remains as Secretary of State for Health.

Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery was sacked as trade minister, being replaced by Conor Burns.

Mr Hollingbery said: ‘During the last 13 months, I have very much enjoyed working at the Department for International Trade helping to formulate policy that will allow the UK to maximise the opportunities that Brexit will bring.

‘I now leave a department ready to implement that trade policy on the 31st October this year when we leave the European Union.

‘I will continue to support the new prime minister and understand his wish to form a new team at the department. I wish my successor the very best in their endeavours.’