The Independent View

Grant Shapps finds himself short of ammunition and under heavy fire

Though never quite a household name, Ben Wallace was something of an understated star in the mostly undistinguished cabinets of Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak. The former defence secretary deserves great credit – with British intelligence – for identifying the threat to Ukraine and indeed world peace represented by Vladimir Putin.

He pioneered the early delivery of military assistance to Kyiv, was trusted by Volodymyr Zelensky and his lieutenants. At home Mr Wallace commanded great respect among “his” armed forces – as a former soldier the description seems justified – and objected publicly to the “hollowing out” of UK defence capabilities under successive governments.

In his resignation letter, magnanimous in the circumstances, Mr Wallace reminded the whole nation that the coming decade harbours unprecedented threats to British security. Wisdom that the next government, whatever its complexion, will have to heed. It is only because of the dire geopolitical consequences of Brexit that he failed to seize the final prize of his career and become secretary general of Nato.

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