Dear Prime Minister
For some weeks, in meetings and discussions, I have been open and honest about my views on the conflict in Gaza and our response to it.
My view has been that our policy in relation to the Middle East Peace Process generally but more recently our approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible, is not in Britain's national interest and will have a long term detrimental impact on our reputation internationally and domestically.
Particularly as the Minister with responsibility for the United Nations, The International Criminal Court and Human Rights I believe our approach in relation to the current conflict is neither consistent with our values, specifically our commitment to the rule of law and our long history of support for International Justice. In many ways the absence of the experience and expertise of colleagues like Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve has over the last few weeks become very apparent.
The decision has not been easy. It has been a privilege to serve for 3 years in your Shadow Cabinet and over 4 years in your Cabinet. Introducing you in Blackpool in 2005 as you made your bid for leadership I had the pleasure of being there at the start of the journey and it would have been rewarding to have been there till the end.
The last decade has given me the opportunity to work with some of the best in the Conservative Party and indeed in government. William Hague was probably one of the finest Foreign Secretaries this country has seen and has been inspirational. He dismantled foreign policy making by sofa government and restored decision making and dignity to the Foreign Office.
There is however great unease across the Foreign Office amongst both Ministers and senior officials, in the way recent decisions are being made.
Eric Pickles has supported me tirelessly in our work on combating hate crime, challenging anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia and the pioneering work of celebrating faith in the public sphere. This new found confidence in Government has allowed me to take the very public international lead on religious freedom, specifically on the ever growing crisis of the persecution of Christians.
However, early evidence from the Home Office and others shows that the fallout of the current conflict and the potential for the crisis in Gaza and our response to it becoming a basis for radicalisation could have consequences for us for years to come.
From both Eric and William I learnt the art of reconciling passion and idealism with pragmatism and realism, but I always said that long after life in politics I must be able to live with myself for the decisions I took or the decisions I supported. By staying in Government at this time I do not feel I can be sure of that.
It is therefore with regret that I am writing to resign.
You will continue to have my personal support as leader of the Conservative Party as you continue to ensure that our Party evolves to meet the challenges we face in Britain today and ensure that the Party is relevant and responsive to all communities that make up today's Britiain.