LONDON — British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has escaped the ax in a ministerial reshuffle.
However, the Ministry of Defence has found itself with a new armed forces minister after Jeremy Quin took over from Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who was promoted to secretary of state for international development.
Wallace, who was in Brussels Thursday for a NATO defense ministers meeting, had been widely tipped to be a casualty of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s reshuffle just two months since winning a general election victory in early December.
Rumors of Wallace’s likely demise had been circulating the defense sector for weeks, with the defense secretary thought to have clashed with Johnson and his advisers over the funding and direction of the military in the defense and security review now starting to get underway.
Wallace also found himself on the wrong side of the argument when the government opted to allow Chinese communications giant Huawei to build part of Britain’s 5G network, despite concerns by allies like the U.S. and Australia that it would be a security risk.
That Wallace has kept his post likely caused a sigh of relief at a ministry that has recently seen a high turnover of defense secretaries.
Quin, the new armed forces minister, joins the MoD from a recent posting as an undersecretary at the Cabinet Office. The role will see him responsible for armed forces activity including operations, operational legal matters, force generation and international defense engagement. The lawmaker has no previous military experience.
He has been a member of Parliament since 2015, and much of his previous experience is in finance.