Boris Johnson sacks defeated Tory leadership rival Jeremy Hunt after he refuses to take Defence Secretary job and says he now wants to focus on being a good dad
- Boris Johnson fired Jeremy Hunt as Foreign Secretary as part of brutal clear out
- Mr Hunt was offered another job but he refused to be demoted and was sacked
- He said he will now focus on the ‘biggest challenge of all – to be a GOOD DAD’
Jeremy Hunt was last night forced from his role as Foreign Secretary after he refused a demotion.
Boris Johnson offered his rival in the Tory leadership race the role of Defence Secretary, but Mr Hunt declined and was shown the door after nine years in Cabinet.
He said he planned instead to spend his time being a ‘good dad’ to his three children.
Mr Hunt wrote on Twitter last night: ‘I would have been honoured to carry on my work at the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) but understand the need for a new PM to choose his team.
‘BJ (Boris Johnson) kindly offered me another role but after nine years in Cabinet and over 300 Cabinet meetings, now is the time to return to the backbenches from where the PM will have my full support.’
In a possible jibe at the new Prime Minister, he said: ‘I’ve been a Cabinet minister for every hour my three gorgeous children have been alive.
Jeremy Hunt, pictured leaving Parliament this evening, was sacked as foreign secretary after he refused to move to another job when asked by new PM Boris Johnson
Mr Johnson, pictured today as he addressed the nation in Downing Street, has launched a full scale clear out of Theresa May’s old Cabinet as he sacked numerous ministers to make way for his own picks
Mr Hunt has been replaced at the Foreign Office by Dominic Raab, pictured outside the FCO this evening, with the former Brexit secretary also made First Secretary of State
‘So whilst it may seem strange for someone who just tried to become PM (and is a terrible cliche) I have decided now is the time for the biggest challenge of all – to be a GOOD DAD!’
He added: ‘It has been a huge honour to be responsible for the finest diplomatic service in the world and to see the courage and wisdom of our diplomats and intelligence services. Thanks for guiding me with such patience and professionalism!’
His removal came as Mr Johnson rounded on high-profile Hunt campaign supporters, sacking both Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary and Penny Mordaunt as Defence Secretary.
Meeting in Mr Johnson’s Commons office yesterday, Mr Hunt told the new Prime Minister that Miss Mordaunt had been a ‘fantastic’ Defence Secretary and he would not replace her.
A Hunt ally said: ‘It would have been the wrong thing to do.’
The PM told Mr Hunt defence was the only job on offer and that he would therefore be forced to return to the backbenches.
A source close to Mr Johnson said he had ‘made up his mind’ on Mr Hunt a while ago.
‘Boris wants to reset the relationship with Trump and demonstrated in the campaign that he [Hunt] was not the right man to do it,’ he said.
Mr Hunt had criticised Mr Johnson for not giving Sir Kim Darroch his full support as Britain’s man in Washington after leaked cables revealed his criticism of the Trump administration.
Former Cabinet minister David Mellor last night criticised Mr Hunt for not accepting the job of Defence Secretary, telling Sky News his refusal was ‘petulant’.
Mr Hunt was replaced at the Foreign Office by Dominic Raab, a leading Brexiteer and prominent supporter of Mr Johnson.
Mr Raab was also made Mr Johnson’s effective Deputy Prime Minister as he was appointed First Secretary of State which means he will stand in for the PM when he is out of the country.
Mr Hunt responded to his dismissal this evening by sending a series of tweets in which he said he would be focusing on being a ‘good dad’
The decision to send Mr Hunt to the Tory backbenches effectively draws a line under the Conservative leadership contest which saw him battle Mr Johnson for seven weeks for the keys to Number 10.
Ultimately he was crushed by Mr Johnson who secured more than 92,000 votes while Mr Hunt managed just shy of 47,000.
Mr Hunt has been a fixture in Tory governments since the start of the coalition in 2010 when he served as culture secretary.
He then served as Health Secretary for almost six years before being made foreign secretary in July 2018 after Mr Johnson resigned from the role.
He was a self-described underdog in the race to succeed Theresa May as PM but his aggressive campaign surprised many in Westminster.
Team Johnson were believed to favour a head-to-head showdown with Mr Hunt over third-placed finished Michael Gove because they believed the latter would be a tougher opponent.
But Mr Hunt attacked Mr Johnson from the outset during the campaign as he labelled him a ‘coward’ over his failure to take part in more than two televised debates.
However, his insistence that he would agree to a further Brexit delay beyond October 31 if a new deal was in sight with the EU meant many Tory Eurosceptic activists could not vote for him.
They preferred Mr Johnson’s unequivocal ‘do or die’ pledge to take the UK out of the EU with or without a deal by the Halloween deadline.