Outgoing Wells MP James Heappey quits as Armed Forces Minister

James Heappy was appointed as Armed Forces Minister in 2020. Credit: PA

Outgoing Wells MP and Armed Forces Minister James Heappey has announced he is resigning from his role in government.

It comes shortly after he revealed his plan to stand down as an MP at the next general election, describing it as a "painful decision".

Mr Heappey's announcement comes after he called for 2.5% of GDP to be "urgently" spent on defence, with concerns mounting about the strength of the British military.

In response to his resignation on Tuesday, the prime minister thanked Mr Heappey for his "outstanding service and contribution" to the "party, Parliament and country".

"No one will understand as well as you, the considerable contribution our armed forces make to this country, but also the security of others around the world," said Rishi Sunak.

"You have seen first-hand, as Minister for Armed Forces, just how widespread and effective that role is. I know you will continue to be a powerful advocate for defence, including the case to invest more to face the challenges of today and the future."

The prime minister also drew attention to Mr Heappey's announcement earlier this month that he will stand down as an MP at the next election.

"I appreciate that your decision will not have been an easy one to make, but I respectyour reasons for doing so. I know that the constituents of Wells will be saddened to lose you as their MP, after years of loyal and selfless service," he added.

More than 60 Conservative MPs have now revealed they will stand down ahead of the next election, which is expected to be held later this year.

In the House of Commons on Monday, Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey paid tribute to Mr Heappey, a former army officer, describing him as "a rare constant in the turmoil of government".

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