More than a month after he declared he would step down in the upcoming UK government cabinet reshuffle, Wallace officially resigned as the defence minister of the country, according to an announcement made by the office of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday.
Wallace, the longest-serving Conservative defence secretary since Winston Churchill, has served in the UK parliament for 18 years.
Sunak commended Wallace’s “dedication and skill” in a letter to the 53-year-old who played a key role in the Western allies’ support of Ukraine against Russia.
The British premier continued by saying, “You have served our country with distinction,” and that he had seen “before others did what Vladimir Putin’s true intentions in Ukraine were.”
“Your determination to get Kiev weaponry before the Russians attacked had a material effect on the ability of the Ukrainians to thwart the invasion,” Sunak further hailed Wallace, who said he would also quit as a legislator at the next national election in order to pursue new opportunities and to “invest in the parts of life I have neglected.”
A former army officer, Wallace was London’s choice to replace Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg as NATO secretary general. However, due to receiving insufficient support from the United States, Wallace failed to become the head of the US-led military alliance.
Wallace was picked as defense secretary by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson back in July 2019 after holding junior ministerial posts in earlier governments.
On Thursday, the British government also appointed Claire Coutinho as Wallace’s replacement and Grant Shapps, a crucial Sunak friend, as the next energy minister.
Prior to a general election that is anticipated to take place in 2024, Sunak has already started a mini-cabinet change.
An independent probe investigating charges that he had intimidated colleagues led to Dominic Raab’s resignation back in April, handing Sunak’s already troubled government yet another devastating blow.
Nadine Dorries, a well-known member of the UK Parliament, attacked Sunak over the weekend after he resigned, accusing him of leading a “zombie parliament” and lacking any kind of political vision.
“Since you took office a year ago, the country is run by a zombie parliament where nothing meaningful has happened. What exactly has been done or have you achieved?” she said in a lengthy resignation letter that tore into the British prime minister.
The by-election to replace the outgoing MP will likely take place in the autumn, presenting the Conservatives with another test of their popularity when they are trailing the opposition Labour Party in opinion polls.