Defence minister Johnny Mercer 'trying to resign' - reports

Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer speaks to pupils at Sandhurst Primary School in south east London, t

Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer speaks to pupils at Sandhurst Primary School in south east London, to raise awareness of the 75th anniversaries of VE and VJ day last year. - Credit: PA

Defence minister Jonny Mercer is set to resign shortly, reports suggest.

Sky News deputy political editor Sam Coates tweeted the minister would soon hand his resignation to Boris Johnson.

"Defence minister Johnny Mercer likely to (try to) resign shortly I understand. He is understood to have indicated such to colleagues," Coates posted.

"BUT he is not thought to have seen the PM yet to tell him."

Mercer is reportedly unhappy that he is unable to achieve what he wants for veterans.

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The minister faced calls to resign in December over alleged breaches of the ministerial code.

Mercer was accused of tipping off a newspaper in a bid to "bounce" defence secretary Ben Wallace into backing his plan to stop stoops being hounded over misconduct claims.

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According to sources, Mercer leaked details to shore up support for Overseas Operations Bill, which would force Wallace to push ahead with the legislation.

While popular among veterans, critics of Bill – including backbench Tory MPs – have suggested it could lead to torture allegations being covered up.

Mercer was investigated by the Cabinet Office after an article appeared in a newspaper in October suggesting a High Court judge would be appointed to oversee the investigation of troops suspected of war crimes.

The former Royal Artillery officer was questioned and apparently admitted giving this information to a journalist.

The ministerial code – a set of rules and behavioural standards for MPs in government roles – dictates that ministers should obtain permission from Downing Street before disclosing sensitive policy matters.

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