Exports minister steps down amid flurry of cabinet resignations as pressure grows on PM Johnson

Wed 6 Jul 2022
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

Exports and Equalities Minister Mike Freer

Mike Freer has stepped down from his position as minister for exports, joining several of his ministerial colleagues in leaving Boris Johnson’s government over the last 24 hours.

The news comes as a delegation of cabinet ministers is reportedly preparing to tell the prime minister to resign.

Freer is also stepping down form his role as equalities minister.

‘Fundamentally disagree’

“I have been grateful for the opportunity to create focus in exploiting our new export markets and in working to try and improve the lives of LGBT+ people in the UK,” Freer wrote in his resignation letter.

“However, I feel that we are moving away from the One Nation Conservative party I joined, not least in creating an atmosphere of hostility to LGBT+ people and I regret I can no longer defend policies I fundamentally disagree with”.


There continues to be intense speculation over Boris Johnson’s position as British prime minister following a spate of resignations that began with the Sajid Javid stepping down as health secretary and Rishi Sunak as chancellor yesterday evening.

Since then Johnson has received over 50 resignation letters from ministers and parliamentary private secretaries.

He has appeared at Prime Minister’s Questions and before the Liaison Committee this afternoon.

Trade ministers

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the international trade secretary, entered Number 10 this afternoon, UK politics reporter at Bloomberg Joe Mayes has tweeted

Trevelyan appeared at the International Trade Committee this morning and said that she had "no plans" to resign, Reuters reporter Alistair Smout tweeted.

ITV News reports that Trevelyan is staying in the cabinet.

According to the Guardian, Penny Mordaunt - who is still trade minister - is one of the frontrunners to replace Johnson, with up to 50 MPs reported to have signed up to her prospective bid to lead the Conservatives. 

As well as Mike Freer, five trade envoys have also resigned:

  • Andrew Murrison, trade envoy to Morocco
  • Theo Clarke, trade envoy to Kenya
  • David Duguid, fisheries envoy and trade envoy for Angola and Zambia
  • David Mundell, trade envoy to New Zealand
  • Richard Graham, trade envoy to Malaysia, Indonesia and ASEAN

Peter Gibson, a parliamentary private secretary in the Department for International Trade, has also resigned.

This article is being continually updated as events develop - last edit: 11:53 7 July 2022