Downing Street said minister ‘misspoke’ when he suggested prorogation was because of Brexit

PUBLISHED: 18:07 29 August 2019 | UPDATED: 18:42 29 August 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/PA.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Downing Street has distanced itself from a suggestion from a minister that Boris Johnson’s move to prorogue parliament was motivated by Brexit.

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Ben Wallace was filmed speaking to French armed forces minister Florence Parly at a meeting of defence ministers in Helsinki, Finland.

He appeared unaware that microphones were picking up his conversation with his French counterpart as he explained the government's predicament surrounding Brexit.

The prime minister wrote to MPs to say his decision to suspend parliament was made so his government could lay a new legislative agenda through a Queen's speech.

But Wallace appeared to suggest Johnson's motivation was the difficulty of having "no majority" in the Commons.

Wallace was heard saying: "We've suddenly found ourselves with no majority and a coalition, and that's not easy for our system.

"Parliament has been very good at saying what it doesn't want, but it has been awful at saying what it wants. That's the reality.

"So, you know, eventually any leader has to, you know, try. I don't know what the outcome of it... You know, politics."

A Number 10 source said: "The defence secretary misspoke and was not involved in discussions about the Queen's speech.

"The Queen's speech will allow us to set out an ambitious legislative programme to deliver on our domestic priorities such as tackling violent crime, investing in our health service and tacklin

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