Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague has surprised many by announcing his resignation.
Although he will stay on in the cabinet as Leader of the House of Commons, Hague intends to leave Parliament altogether at the 2015 general election.
A former Conservative leader he has been Britain’s most senior diplomat for the past four years
His going comes as Prime Minister David Cameron conducted his biggest ministerial reshuffle since 2010.
Dubbed “Cameron’s bloodbath” by the UK’s tabloid newspapers, several senior figures have been sacked including veteran Conservative MP Ken Clarke ahead of new appointees to be announced today.
The man said to be replacing Hague is eurosceptic Philip Hammond. He takes up the job in the run up to a 2017 referendum on Britain’s EU membership.
With the Conservatives lagging behind the opposition Labour party in the polls, Cameron is expected to promote a raft of women to senior posts to correct a gender imbalance.