Dear Prime Minister,
The last 24 hours have been very difficult and distressing for me, and I have been thinking carefully about what action I should take in the interests of the Government, my constituents and - most important of all - those whom I love. I am grateful for the strong support which I have received from my friends, family, and from you, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Chancellor. This support has been incredibly important, but nonetheless, I have decided that it is right to tender my resignation as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. I have done so for three reasons.
Firstly, I do not see how I can carry on my crucial work on the Budget and Spending Review while I have to deal with the private and public implications of recent revelations.
At this important time the Chancellor needs, in my own view, a Chief Secretary who is not distracted by personal troubles. I hardly need say how much I regret having to leave such vital work, which I feel all my life has prepared me for.
Secondly, while my recent problems were caused by my desire to keep my sexuality secret, the public is entitled to expect politicians to act with a sense of responsibility. I cannot now escape the conclusion that what I have done was in some way wrong, even though I did not gain any financial benefit from keeping my relationship secret in this way.
Finally, and most importantly, I have an overriding responsibility to those I love most, and who I feel I have exposed to scrutiny in this way. I have pursued a political career because of my sense of public duty, but I have too often put this before the interests of those I love most. It is time to redress the balance. I want to apologise to my constituents for falling below the standards that they are entitled to expect from me. The job of being a constituency MP is no less important to me than my Cabinet responsibilities. I shall ensure that I co-operate fully with the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner in the review that I have requested. I intend to consider carefully over the period ahead how I can best serve the interests of my Yeovil constituency, which I care so passionately about.
It has been a great honour to serve however briefly in your Government and I will remain its strong supporter.