A government minister has resigned from his job for being absent from the House of Lords when he should have been there to answer a question, then walked out of the chamber to the shock of his fellow peers.
Michael Bates, a minister at the Department for International Development (DfID) since 2016, said he was “thoroughly ashamed at not being in my place” for the question, and walked out to loud shouts of “no!” from others in the chamber.
However, No 10 later said the resignation had been refused and it appears Bates will continue in his post. The brief resignation was one of the most dramatic in recent years.
Bates, who has been in the Lords since 2008, stood up to say he had not been in his place when he was supposed to answer a question from the Labour peer Ruth Lister.
“I want to offer my sincere apologies to Baroness Lister for my discourtesy in not being in my place to answer her question on a very important matter at the beginning of questions,” Lord Bates said.
During the five years in which it’s been my privilege to answer questions from this dispatch box on behalf of the government, I’ve always believed that we should rise to the highest possible standards of courtesy and respect in responding on behalf of the government to the legitimate questions of the legislature.
I’m thoroughly ashamed at not being in my place and therefore I shall be offering my resignation to the prime minister with immediate effect. I do apologise.