Former UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has quit the government after rejecting a move to defence secretary, telling Boris Johnson he would not take sacked Penny Mordaunt’s job.  

The former Tory leadership contender, who lost out to Boris Johnson by a margin of two-to-one on Tuesday in the race to succeed Theresa May, said that he would have been willing to stay on as foreign secretary.  

But he rejected demotion to defence secretary, a role which Ms Mordaunt had held for less than three months before her dismissal by the new PM. His departure comes despite him announcing shortly after his defeat in the leadership race that Mr Johnson would make “a great prime minister”.

Hunt had served on the Tory frontbenches since 2005 and was a fixture in the cabinet throughout the Conservative-led governments of David Cameron and Theresa May.

‘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’ he tweeted.

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