Ben Wallace MP: could defence secretary be the new Prime Minister?

According to a recent YouGov poll, Ben Wallace has emerged as the favorite among the Conservatives to replace Boris Johnson, slightly ahead of Penny Mordaunt

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Who is Ben Wallace?

Wallace is a British politician and ex-serviceman who currently serves as Foreign Secretary for Defense and Conservative MP for Wyre and Preston North.

Born on May 15, 1970 in Farnborough, England, he attended Millfield Independent School in Somerset. While at school he attended a junior officer course for the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace MP delivers his keynote address during the Conservative Party Spring Conference at the Blackpool Winter Gardens on March 19, 2022 in Blackpool, England (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

After leaving school at 18, Wallace briefly worked as a ski instructor in Austria before moving to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. He was drafted into the Scots Guards at the age of 20, where he toured Germany, Windsor, Cyprus and Northern Ireland for eight years, rising to the rank of captain.

In 1992, a patrol commanded by Wallace captured an entire IRA unit attempting to bomb British soldiers.

In conversation with the Times In 2021, Wallace said: “The IRA has been very, very active. We’ve had over 100 incidents: alleged bombings, shootings, riots.

“Two soldiers died here, one was murdered, one committed suicide. There were some scary times, but I was never scared.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace during a visit to speak to military personnel at the Horse Guards building in Westminster (Photo: PA)

“I can remember lying in bed and hearing a machine gun firing against the fence a few meters away. I was on my way to the kitchen house and they threw some grenades at the fence which exploded. Someone once tried to drop a bomb on me.”

Up until the 2005 general election, Wallace was employed by QinetiQ, a British multinational defense technology company, as Overseas Director in the Security and Intelligence Division.

Is he married?

Wallace married Liza Cooke in 2001 – they met when she was a researcher in the Scottish Parliament and he was an MSP and together they have two sons and a daughter.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace after the color change parade at Baker Barracks on Thorney Island, West Sussex (Photo: PA)

According to a number of publications, Wallace and Cooke split in 2020.

How was his political career?

Wallace entered politics in 1999 after being elected as a Conservative Member of Scottish Parliament to represent North East Scotland as a list MSP.

In 2003 he resigned to be elected to the House of Commons. At the time he was the shadow health spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives.

Wallace was elected MP for Lancaster and Wyre in the 2005 general election, taking over the Labor seat. The constituency was dissolved for the 2010 general election and Wallace instead ran for the new Wyre and Preston North seat, which he received.

He was subsequently re-elected in the 2015, 2017 and 2019 general elections.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace briefs MPs on Ukraine (Photo: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA)

After his re-election to Parliament in 2010, Wallace was elected Parliamentary Private Secretary to then-Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Kenneth Clarke. Wallace later declined the position of Lord Commission of the Treasury to remain Clarke’s PPS.

After Clarke returned to the back benches, Wallace took a job in government as a whip. In 2015 he was promoted to Parliamentary Secretary of State in the Northern Ireland Office.

Boris Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, appointed Wallace as Secretary of State for Security at the Home Office. He was Security Secretary during the 2017 terrorist attacks and attempted assassination of Sergei Skipral in Salisbury.

When Johnson became prime minister in 2019, he elected Wallace as secretary of state for defense, replacing Penny Mordaunt.

Did he vote for Brexit?

While Wallace almost always voted against UK EU membership between 2016 and 2019, he was a supporter of the Remain campaign during the Brexit referendum.

After it was announced that Britain had voted to leave, Wallace tweeted: “As a rest of the world I am obviously disappointed with the result. But now it’s my duty to make sure Britain thrives and stays together in the world.”

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace to appear on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday 21 March 2021 (Photo: PA)

In March 2019, he posted on social media that he “respects the result of the referendum and wants to see Brexit”. He added that he had “voted against delaying the exit from the EU” and “would not support a second referendum”.

How is his voting behavior?

You can see Wallace’s voting record, as well as other MPs’ voting records, on the website They work for you.

According to his profile on the website, Wallace votes on the vast majority of issues in the same way as his fellow Conservative MPs.

His voting record includes:

  • Almost always vote for cuts in welfare spending – 45 votes in favour, zero against and eight absent between 2010 and 2016
  • Almost always votes against UK membership of the EU – 2 votes in favour, 19 votes against and three absences between 2016 and 2019
  • Consistently voting for tuition fees – five yes votes and zero no votes from 2010 to 2017
  • Almost always vote for stronger immigration enforcement – ​​eight votes in favour, zero votes against and one absence between 2015 and 2016
  • General vote against action to prevent climate change – seven votes in favour, 12 against and 14 absent between 2008 and 2020
  • Generally voting against equal rights for gays – two votes for, nine against and three absentees between 2000 and 2019