EXCLUSIVE: Former Education Secretary Kit Malthouse says being sacked by Rishi Sunak after 49 days was 'brutal' and upset his children

Ex-minister tells Gloria De Piero it was 'frustrating' to be axed by new PM

FORMER Tory Minister Kit Malthouse has opened up about his “brutal” sacking by Rishi Sunak.

The ex-Education Secretary was axed from his post after just 49 days, and said he refused another role in Government as it was effectively “a demotion”.

In an exclusive interview with GB News, Mr Malthouse said his focus was now on fighting to change the law on assisted-dying, and he movingly told how that crusade was being driven by personal experiences.

And he also opened up on the controversial decision to allow MPs to claim for food at Christmas parties on expenses, saying any colleagues who decided to do so would be “bonkers”.

Speaking to Gloria De Piero on Gloria Meets… the MP for North West Hampshire said there was no point trying to sugar-coat his recent exit from the Cabinet.

“It is a brutal game,” he admitted. “I mean, look, he (Rishi) was very polite about it, and I was offered another position, but it wasn't something that I wanted to do. And I don't think it's any secret that over the previous year there had been a kind of divergence of view, should we say, about economic policy.

"In this game you’ve always got to have your bag packed. And, you know, it is brutal. But look – I did 49 days, it was fascinating.

"I felt frustrated because we got the department in a position where we were just about to set off; hopefully the team that succeeded will do exactly that. I was obviously disappointed. I was offered a job that would have been interpreted as a demotion. But you've always got to have your bag packed, and you’ve always got to have a Plan B.”

On how he found out, Mr Malthouse explained: “You get a phone call, you get asked to see the Prime Minister at a particular time. Then you sort of know something's up, because I think if it's negative, you get asked to see him in the house, and if it's positive, you get the walk up Downing St.

"And so, you get a hint pretty early on. But to be honest with you, I kind of guessed during the leadership that that was the way things were going to go. You know, the upside is that those views that I was giving in private can now be given in public.”

Rishi Sunak took no time to wield the axe on Liz Truss's cabinet appointments
Rishi Sunak took no time to wield the axe on Liz Truss's cabinet appointments

Commenting on the impact the sacking had on his wife and three children, he said: “I mean, obviously everybody is upset.

"They'd rather I’d have stayed where I was. But I've kind of conditioned everybody in the family to the fact that politics is a kind of random game; you just don't know what is going to happen to you from one day to the next.

“Certainly we've been through a very turbulent few years! I mean, I was elected in 2015. We've had three general elections, several leaders, two monarchs, a pandemic, a war. I mean, anything could happen, right? I mean the kids are quite happy that they're seeing more of me, which is great.

“You’ve just got to take the rough and the smooth of this game, and the wheel will turn again. Plus I didn't necessarily come into it to be a Minister. I came into it because I have very strong views about the path of the country and the way I think we should be heading, and the type of economy that we should be building, and the type of country that we should be building – particularly post-Brexit.

"And so, that's what animates me, really. It's lovely to be a Minister, but actually you can be just as effective as a backbencher, in my view.”

Addressing the difficult Budget, he added: " For somebody like me, who spent their entire political existence dedicated to low tax [it was difficult].

"My total philosophy was about leaving as much money as possible in the pockets of the people that we served, so they can make their own choices about how they spend it, how they invest it, how they grow it – and in particular – giving people the room and the space and the incentive to build wealth and businesses.”

For Mr Malthouse, high on that list of his current crusades is changing the law on assisted dying.

Explaining why he is so passionate about the issue he said: “I've been convicted of the need for assisted dying in this country pretty much since I was a teenager. And it came out from a kind of mixture over the years of personal experience of members of my family who've been through horrible experiences.

But it was also based on a conviction myself that if I was to face one of these awful ends to my life, I would want to have some sense of control over that about the timing and the nature and the manner of it.

“That allied with the fact that we've got the ability to go to Switzerland if we want to, and the injustice of that. Effectively, we've got business class assisted dying – if you've got £10-15k, you can go; if you haven't, you have to die in horrible circumstances here.

“It meant that when I came into the House it was one of the big issues that I came in to try and do something about. So, I became chair of the All Party Group, and of course we had the vote in 2015 which sadly we lost. Since then, I've been trying to help the campaign to build, to change people's minds. Happily, the numbers are shifting in our direction, but I don't think we're quite there yet.”

On how the issue has impacted him personally he said: “There was a member of my extended family, who died many years ago of multiple sclerosis, in horrible circumstances. More closely, there was a death in my wife's family from breast cancer. Both of which reinforced in me the idea that, you know, if I were to face – if anyone were to face – those horrible circumstances, I'd at least like the choice.

"This is the thing that happens, that people don't realise about assisted dying: it’s that the vast majority of people who have a right to assisted dying don't actually use it.

“And the reason they don't is because they don't have to be worried about their eventual death. If you get a horrible disease, like motor neurone disease, you spend your whole time worrying about how you're going to die, because your death – no matter how good the palliative care is – is going to be really awful.

“I have to say, when I became a Member of Parliament, and I declared that I was pro assisted dying – in my constituency, I was amazed at the number of people who came forward and said, A) they were very pro, but B) that they'd taken their relatives to Switzerland. “There are lots and lots of people out there who've been through this awful experience – either of somebody dying in dreadful circumstances, or going to Switzerland – and it means that the campaign is building.

"So, I'm happy whatever small way I am to try and help.”

Under Boris Johnson, Mr Malthouse served as Policing Minister, and was in post during the time of Sarah Everard’s murder. He said her murder at the hands of a serving MET cop underlines the need for continued vetting of police officers.

Mr Malthouse was formerly the Minister for Crime and Policing
Mr Malthouse was formerly the Minister for Crime and Policing

He said: “I mean, look, we became concerned about vetting, and it has been flagged again and again to the police, after a number of inspections, and so we asked the inspector to have a look again at vetting.

"And obviously with vetting, you're kind of trying to hit a moving target. So, you've got two points; you've got the point at which people come into the force, and there were areas that could be improved there – so, for example, new areas like looking at people’s social media profiles, that needed to be added in, and that started. But then there's the kind of notion of ongoing vetting; over a 30-year career people's behaviours, their influences, things might change.

"And so, having ongoing vetting, I think it's certainly the case that the Police had taken a bit of time to catch up with the modern world from a vetting point of view. Some big forces like the Met have got a huge amount still to do.

"It feels to me like the new management there will be on it, on it sharpish. I mean, we are going through a period of post-Everard, of a general knock to the confidence that people have in policing, I think across the board. Hopefully that will be the message for the future.”

Meanwhile Mr Malthouse also addressed the controversial plans announced this week by expenses watchdog IPSA, which allow MPs to claim food for staff Christmas parties.

“It’s totally bonkers,” he said. “I don't understand where this has come from. I don't know a single MP who's asked for this. I think any MP who would claim some kind of party on IPSA expenses is out of their mind.”

Gloria Meets..." is on GB News from 6pm on Sundays