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The UK’s New Defence Secretary to be Announced

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Wallace, who currently holds the role, announced his departure last month

The UK’s new defence secretary is expected to be announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday.

Ben Wallace, who currently holds the role, announced last month that he would leave his post at the next reshuffle of cabinet ministers.

Names mentioned by senior Conservatives as potential replacements include Armed Forces Minister James Heappey and Chief Secretary to the Treasury John Glen.

Downing Street has refused to comment on Mr Wallace’s successor.

As well as Mr Heappey and Mr Glen, there are reports that a Tory MP who has done the job before may be asked to do it a second time.

The Daily Telegraph claims Liam Fox – who was defence secretary in 2010, under then Prime Minister David Cameron – is a “leading candidate” for the job.

He resigned from the post 12 years ago after it emerged that his best man at his wedding, Adam Werritty, had joined him on 18 foreign trips and handed out business cards suggesting he was his adviser – despite having no official role.

Mr Fox was an ardent supporter of Mr Sunak’s campaign to be Conservative leader last summer.

Mr Heappey, a former army major who served in Afghanistan, has been an MP since 2015. He endorsed former Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the 2019 leadership election, and went on to serve as his parliamentary private secretary.

It was Mr Johnson who appointed him as parliamentary under-secretary for the Armed Forces in 2020, before promoting him to minister of state two years later.

Meanwhile Mr Glen, a former management consultant, has held a number of government roles including parliamentary under-secretary for arts, heritage and tourism (2017-18) and city minister (2018-22).

The change to Mr Sunak’s top team comes after Mr Wallace said last month that he would leave his post at the next reshuffle of government ministers, and Parliament at the next general election.

Mr Wallace has served continuously as a minister under five prime ministers, having originally been appointed by Mr Cameron as a government whip in 2014.

He went on to be a Northern Ireland minister, security minister and has been defence secretary since July 2019.

Downing Street refused to comment on the reports surrounding Mr Wallace’s replacement.

The UK is preparing to announce a new defence secretary, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expected to make the announcement on Thursday. The current defence secretary, Ben Wallace, revealed last month that he would be stepping down from his role during the next cabinet reshuffle.

Several names have been mentioned as potential replacements for Wallace, including James Heappey, the Armed Forces Minister, and John Glen, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. There have also been reports suggesting that a former Tory MP who previously held the position may be considered for a second term. Liam Fox, who served as defence secretary in 2010 under then Prime Minister David Cameron, is regarded as a leading candidate.

However, Fox had previously resigned from the post after it was discovered that Adam Werritty, his best man at his wedding, accompanied him on multiple foreign trips and portrayed himself as an advisor without an official role. Despite this, Fox remains a prominent figure within the Conservative Party, having shown strong support for Sunak during his bid for party leadership last summer.

Among the potential candidates, James Heappey stands out as a former army major with experience serving in Afghanistan. He has been an MP since 2015 and was an advocate for Boris Johnson during the 2019 leadership contest, eventually becoming his parliamentary private secretary. He moved up the ranks to parliamentary under-secretary for the Armed Forces in 2020, and later became a minister of state.

John Glen, on the other hand, has a background as a management consultant and has held various positions in the government, including parliamentary under-secretary for arts, heritage, and tourism from 2017 to 2018, and city minister from 2018 to 2022.

The change in Sunak’s top team comes after Ben Wallace’s announcement that he plans to step down not only from his current role but also from Parliament at the next general election. Wallace has been a minister under five different prime ministers and has held positions such as Northern Ireland minister and security minister prior to becoming defence secretary in July 2019.

While the potential successors are being discussed, Downing Street has declined to comment on the reports surrounding Wallace’s replacement.

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