New British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sacked foreign minister Jeremy Hunt on Wednesday, as he prepared to replace most of the cabinet.
Hunt, who had been Johnson's rival for the top job, tweeted that he was "kindly" offered another role but turned it down to become one of more than a dozen cabinet ministers heading out the door, some of them voluntarily.
1/4 I would have been honoured to carry on my work at the FCO but understand the need for a new PM to choose his team. BJ kindly offered me another role but after 9 yrs in Cabinet & over 300 cab mtgs now is the time to return 2 backbenches from where PM will have my full support
Britain's de facto deputy prime minister David Lidington also resigned from the government ahead of Boris Johnson being appointed prime minister.
"I wrote to @BorisJohnson yesterday to congratulate him on his election, to wish him well & to say I've decided that after 20 yrs on the front bench it's the right moment to move on," Lidington said on Twitter.
He joins the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, international development secretary Rory Stewart and justice minister David Gauke in resigning from the cabinet.
Meanwhile, Britain's defence secretary Penny Mordaunt too resigned. Mordaunt said she will not serve in new Prime Minister Boris Johnson's team of senior ministers.
"I'm heading to the backbenches from where the PM will have my full support," Mordaunt, a Brexit supporter who backed Johnson's opponent Jeremy Hunt in the leadership race, said on Twitter. She had also been serving as Women and Equalities minister.
I’m heading to the backbenches from where the PM will have my full support, as will my successors at @DefenceHQ & @WomenEqualities
Thank you to everyone who’s helped me get things done, especially our Armed Forces and civilians in defence for the last 85 days. We achieved much🇬🇧