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U.K. Prime Minister Appoints Cabinet Veteran as Defense Secretary Following Ben Wallace’s Resignation

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has appointed his government’s energy secretary, Grant Shapps, as the new defense chief in a Cabinet reshuffle prompted by the resignation of Ben Wallace. Wallace was a prominent supporter of the U.K.’s support for Ukraine.

Grant Shapps expressed his gratitude for being chosen as the next defense secretary and acknowledged the significant contributions made by Ben Wallace to Britain’s defense and global security over the past four years.

Shapps said, “I am looking forward to working with the brave men and women of our armed forces who defend our nation’s security and continuing the U.K.’s support for Ukraine in their fight against [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s barbaric invasion.”

Unlike his predecessor, Ben Wallace, Grant Shapps has less experience in security and defense. Wallace, who attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and served as an officer in the Scots Guards regiment, possesses a strong military background.

In his resignation letter, Wallace mentioned that the Defense Ministry is now “more modern, better funded, and more confident” than when he took over in 2019. He emphasized the importance of not considering defense as a discretionary spend and avoiding cuts that would weaken the organization.

With his extensive military and government experience, Ben Wallace was considered a leading candidate for the top civilian position at NATO. However, the alliance leaders decided to extend the contract of current Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg for another year.

In addition to this appointment, Rishi Sunak named Claire Coutinho, one of his allies in the House of Commons, as the new energy secretary, replacing Grant Shapps.

Unique Perspective: The appointment of Grant Shapps as the new defense secretary raises questions about his ability to effectively lead the defense department due to his limited security and defense experience. However, it remains to be seen how he will navigate the challenges facing the nation’s security and continue the U.K.’s support for Ukraine amidst ongoing tensions with Russia.

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