British politics is a funny old thing. We still have a Queen as the head of state, we don’t directly choose who we want to be Prime Minister and there are hundreds of unelected old people sitting in the House of Lords making and overseeing laws that affect all of us.
And it’s the House of Lords that was the scene for the latest utterly baffling (but extremely British) episode when a government minister dramatically resigned without warning – all because he was running late.
Painfully polite Michael Bates, a minister at the Department for International Development since 2016, said he was “thoroughly ashamed at not being in my place” for a question, and walked out of the chamber in front of his shocked colleagues.
Watch the moment here:
“I want to offer my sincere apologies to Baroness Lister for my discourtesy in not being in my place to answer her question on a very important matter at the beginning of questions,” Lord Bates said.
“During the five years in which it’s been my privilege to answer questions from this dispatch box on behalf of the government, 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 be offering my resignation to the Prime Minister with immediate effect. I do apologise.”
But the PM quickly reversed the decision and refused his resignation, meaning he’ll still serve as a minister. A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “With typical sincerity, Lord Bates today offered to tender his resignation, but his resignation was refused as it was judged this was unnecessary.
“As a hard-working and diligent minister, it is typical of his approach that he takes his responsibilities to Parliament so seriously. He has received support from across the House and we are pleased he has decided to continue in his important roles at the Department for International Development and HM Treasury.”
And this isn’t the first time the eccentric politician has been in the news. In 2016, he stepped down as a Home Office minister to do a 2,000-mile walk across South America.
Only one GIF (even if it is over-used) seems appropriate for this man:
(Image: Parliament TV)