No 10 says Johnny Mercer is 'valued' minister as it attempts to stop him resigning

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, arrives for a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, arrives for a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (Covid-19). Picture date: Monday April 5, 2021. - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has claimed Johnny Mercer is a “valued” minister as he tries to stop him resigning from government.

Veterans minister Mercer is thought to be unhappy about a lack of progress in dealing with former personnel being investigated for killings during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

He has been heavily involved in the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill, which is going through its final stages in parliament.

The legislation was developed in response to legal claims made after operations in Iraq and Afghanistan but it does not cover incidents in Northern Ireland.

The prime minister’s official spokesman acknowledged No 10 was aware of “speculation” around former army officer Mercer’s future but “speculation is what it is at the moment”.

He added: “Johnny Mercer is a valued minister in the government and we have a good track record on delivering for veterans’ issues.”

The spokesman said he was not aware of any conversations between Mercer and Johnson today.

It is reported that Mercer has become increasingly frustrated about the lack of progress on the Northern Ireland issue but he is not expected to announce his resignation until the Overseas Operations Bill completes its passage through parliament.

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Lords amendments to the Bill will be considered in the Commons on Wednesday.

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