British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace plans to leave the government in the next cabinet reshuffle and will not stand in the next general election, he told The Times newspaper.

Wallace informed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of his plans on June 16 but had hoped to make the announcement later in the summer, the newspaper reported on Saturday evening. A cabinet reshuffle is expected by September.

“I won’t be up next time,” Wallace said. But he ruled out going “prematurely” and forcing another by-election, the newspaper said.

“I entered politics in the Scottish parliament in 1999. It’s been 24 years,” Wallace, who has served as defense chief since July 2019, told the newspaper.

The development comes days after Wallace controversially said Ukraine should put more emphasis on ‘gratitude’ to ‘doubtful politicians’ in the US and other allies who may not be completely convinced of the need to maintain military and economic support for Kiev as it fights back. the country of the Russian invasion.

“There’s a little caveat here, whether you like it or not, people want to see gratitude,” Wallace told reporters at a NATO summit in Lithuania on July 12.

Sunak was forced to try to calm the diplomatic uproar caused by Wallace’s remarks. The Prime Minister said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had expressed his gratitude to Kyiv’s allies “countless times”.

Wallace’s name was among the potential candidates for the post of secretary general of NATO before the defense alliance agreed in early July to extend Jens Stoltenberg’s mandate by one year.

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