Lord Bates, a minister at the International Development department, resigned today over being absent when a question was addressed to him by Labour peer Baroness Lister of Burtersett in a sitting of the House of Lords. The Prime Minister since rejected his resignation, and he has agreed to stay on in his role.
Minister resigns for being late to parliamentary session
Addressing the House of Lords, Lord Bates said he wanted to offer “sincere apologies” to the Baroness for “discourtesy in not being in my place to answer her question on a very important manner at the beginning of questions.”
“I’ve always believed that we should rise to the highest possible standards of courtesy and respect in responding on behalf of the government to the legitimate questions of the legislature.”
“I’m thoroughly ashamed at not being in my place and therefore I shall by offering my resignation to the prime minister with immediate effect,” he said, amid cries of “No!”.
Labour’s leader in the House of Lords, Baroness Smith of Basildon, later stated that “an apology from noble Lord Bates is perfectly sufficient. It was a minor discourtesy of which any of us can be guilty of on occasion.”
Resignation of Lord Bates refused by Prime Minister
A spokesperson for Prime Minister May hailed the minister’s “typical sincerity” and highlighted that he was a “hard-working and diligent minister” who takes his responsibilities to Parliament very seriously.
They said his resignation was refused as it was judged as “unnecessary” and announced that Lord Bates had decided to continue to work in his Treasury and international development ministry roles.