International Development minister Lord Bates has dramatically resigned from the government – because he was late.
The Conservative peer caused uproar and confusion in the Lords on Wednesday afternoon when he spoke up to announce he intended to quit.
“I have always believed we should rise to the highest possible standards of courtesy and respect in responding on behalf the government to the legitimate questions of the legislature,” he told peers.
“I am thoroughly ashamed of not being in my place and therefore I shall be offering my resignation to the prime minister with immediate effect.”
He had missed a question from Labour’s Baroness Lister of Burtersett – not something that would normally be seen as close to a resigning matter.
After Lord Bates walked out of the chamber, Labour peer Barroness Smith insisted Lord Bates had no reason to resign for for the “minor discourtesy” and all that was needed was an apology.
As a minister of state in the Department for International Development, Lord Bates has responsibility for areas including the British overseas territories and the United Nations.