Boris Johnson has accepted resignation of ‘valued’ defence minister Johnny Mercer

Downing Street has confirmed the Prime Minister has accepted the resignation of Johnny Mercer

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has accepted the resignation of Minister for Defence, People and Veterans, Johnny Mercer, a Downing Street spokeswoman has confirmed.

It was earlier reported that Mr Mercer – who is one of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's most prominent leadership figures – had informed the Government that he planned to resign from his role.

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A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “This evening the Prime Minister has accepted the resignation of Johnny Mercer as Minister for Defence People and Veterans.

Minister for Defence, People and Veterans, Johnny Mercer, is reportedly intending to resign from his position (Photo: Gov UK)

“He thanks Johnny Mercer for his service as a Government Minister since 2019.”

This comes amid unhappiness over the slow progress of legislation which has been designed to protect veterans.

Last week, the House of Lords blocked government efforts to protect Armed Forces veterans and serving personnel from prosecution for historic alleged war crimes, legislation of which is championed by Mr Mercer.

The Daily Telegraph also reported that Mr Mercer - who is a former army officer - is unhappy in the Ministry of Defence over the Government’s inability to put a halt to investigations into former personnel who served in Northern Ireland.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Johnny Mercer is a valued minister in the Government and we have a good track record on delivering for veterans’ issues.”

However, in a letter to the Prime Minister, posted on his Twitter account, Mr Mercer said: “It is with a heavy heart that I am forced to offer you my resignation from your Government.”

He said he had hoped Mr Johnson’s leadership would “signal a step change in veterans affairs in the UK”.

Mr Mercer added: “Whilst we continue to say all the right things, you will understand that if we fail to match that with what we deliver, we risk damaging an already bruised veterans cohort further, as I told you last month in our first face to face meeting, we crossed that line some time ago.”

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