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Guto Bebb Resigns As Defence Minister

Mr Bebb quit so he could vote against the Government on its Brexit customs bill.

Former Defence Minister Guto Bebb during a visit to HMS Argyll. (Image: Crown Copyright).

Guto Bebb has resigned as Minister for Defence Procurement so he could vote against the Government on its Brexit customs bill.

The Prime Minister was hit by the late night ministerial resignation following a day of party divisions when she bowed to pressure from Tory Brexiters.

Mr Bebb voted against the Government after it agreed to back amendments to its Brexit plans tabled by Euro-sceptics.

In total, 14 Tory MPs defied their leader, though the Government scraped through the vote by a majority of just three.

Guto Bebb told Forces News on Monday that "certainty" should be given after Brexit.

Mr Bebb was appointed as the Minister for Defence Procurement on January 9th 2018, after Harriett Baldwin departed from the position.

As the Minister for Defence Procurement, he was responsible for the Equipment Plan, defence industry and exports, covering nuclear enterprise and information computer technology.

Yesterday, he appeared at Farnborough International Airshow where he told Forces News the Government should give "certainty" to business post-Brexit.

'Guto Bebb resignation a loss to the Government' - former Defence Minister Mark Francois.

One of his first public appearances as Defence Minister was to accept HMS Forth into the Royal Navy in January.

Before joining the Ministry of Defence, Mr Bebb was a Government Whip and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Wales Office from March 2016 to January 2018.

Former Defence Minister Guto Bebb during a visit to HMS Argyll. (Image: Crown Copyright).
Former Defence Minister Guto Bebb during a visit to HMS Argyll. (Picture: Crown Copyright).

Brexit Bigger Than Defence?

By Forces News Westminster Correspondent, Laura Makin-Isherwood

Praised for his hard work, a Defence Minister described as talented and principled by friends.

A man who now, after just seven months in the role of Minister for Defence Procurement, has decided to step down. 

Mr Bebb's resignation from the post came as a shock to many. But is yet another indicator of just how divisive Brexit is.

The Aberconwy MP voted to remain in the referendum. He was highly critical of Boris Johnson's "selfish" decision to quit over Theresa May's  Brexit ideas.

And last night his feeling that a hard Brexit would be bad for the nation was stronger than his desire to remain in Cabinet - and so he joined Labour in voting to try to stop a motion tabled by Tory Brexiteers.

But was his decision in vain? His vote did not win lead to a win for Remainers, and now the Ministry of Defence is without a Minister for Procurement just days before MPs break for recess...and before the headlines from the Modernising Defence Programme have been released.

In a department that seems to switch its top team every few months, who will be next up for a stint in the MoD?

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