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Hammond takes on defence portfolio


Philip Hammond said it was a 'real honour and privilege' to be appointed Defence Secretary

Philip Hammond said it was a 'real honour and privilege' to be appointed Defence Secretary

Philip Hammond said it was a 'real honour and privilege' to be appointed Defence Secretary

Philip Hammond has been appointed Defence Secretary following the resignation of Liam Fox.

Justine Greening has taken Mr Hammond's place as Transport Secretary, becoming the fifth woman in David Cameron's Cabinet.

The appointments came in a mini-reshuffle forced upon the Prime Minister by Dr Fox's decision to hand in his resignation after more than a week of controversy over his links with defence lobbyist Adam Werritty. Assistant whip and Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, 29, is promoted to economic secretary to the Treasury, while Chelsea and Fulham MP Greg Hands, 45, takes her place in the whips' office.

Mr Hammond's promotion to one of the most high-profile posts in the Cabinet comes after 17 months as Transport Secretary in which he gave the go-ahead to the controversial High Speed 2 rail link and faced down critics of the decision to award the contract for Thameslink rolling stock to Siemens rather than UK-based Bombardier.

In a statement issued by the MoD later, Mr Hammond said: "I have always been a huge admirer of the professionalism and the dedication of our armed forces, so it is a real honour and privilege to be asked by the Prime Minister to take on this role and work with them in maintaining our nation's security

"This is a particularly important time for defence. The priorities are the continuing operations overseas and the transformation of the way defence is organised.

"I am obviously saddened by the circumstances in which this opportunity arises. I think Liam Fox did a brilliant job in turning round the chaos that Labour left behind and in starting to build a sustainable future for our armed forces.

"I look forward to picking up the baton from Liam and working closely with the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and International Development Secretary to ensure that our defences are robust and that the finances that lie behind them are equally robust.

"Finally, I pay tribute to our armed forces and the civilian personnel who support them. Their dedication, professionalism and heroism is unquestionable and I look forward to working with them to help shape defence for the better."

Ms Greening joins the Cabinet at the age of 42, six years after entering Parliament as MP for Putney in 2005. Her elevation follows a solid performance as economic secretary to the Treasury since the formation of the coalition Government.

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