HomeNewsBurnham-On-Sea's MP is in the running to become new Defence Secretary

Burnham-On-Sea’s MP is in the running to become new Defence Secretary

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Burnham-On-Sea’s MP James Heappey is in the running to become Defence Secretary following the news that Ben Wallace will step down from the role at the next cabinet reshuffle.

Wallace told the Sunday Times he would not stand at the next general election, but has ruled out leaving prematurely and triggering a by-election. The next cabinet reshuffle is expected in September.

James Heappey is among the potential candidates to be the next person in charge of defence.

He has served in the defence department since 2019, first as procurement minister before being promoted to the armed forces brief in 2020.

Politico says: “As the defence ministry’s second-most senior politician, Heappey often fills in for Wallace. Heappey has also acknowledged and taken the MoD’s side in disputes with the Treasury, pointing to ‘robust exchanges’ on the finances behind closed doors. Some reports suggest Heappey would be Wallace’s pick for the job.”

“Like Wallace — and unlike the four previous defence secretaries before him — Heappey has military experience, something generally considered an asset for the job.”

Mr Heappey served in the Army and reached the rank of major. During a 10-year career in the Rifles, Mr Heappey served on operations in Afghanistan, Northern Ireland and Iraq.

Mr Wallace seemed to give him his backing said in the Commons this week, saying: “The continuity in office is improving and I am incredibly grateful to the long-serving minister of the armed forces Mr Heappey, whose experience in uniform and public office has provided the basis for this paper,” referring to the UK’s updated Defence Strategy.

Mr Wallace’s comments came as MPs paid tribute to him for his four-year stint in the role.

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