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Last Updated: Monday, 6 September, 2004, 17:52 GMT 18:52 UK
Resignation letters in full
Work and Pensions Secretary Andrew Smith has resigned from the Cabinet. Here is the full text of his resignation letter, together with Tony Blair's response.

ANDREW SMITH'S LETTER

Dear Tony,

Over the summer I have discussed with my family the contribution I wish to make in public life. I have chosen to leave the government and to devote more time to the responsibilities I enjoy in my constituency and to my family.

It has been a privilege to serve, to have been Minister for Work when the New Deal was created and to have been able to carry it forward as Secretary of State.

I am grateful for your support and that of colleagues, in the work we have done to cut unemployment, to tackle child and pensioner poverty, to create the Pension Protection Fund and to extend the rights of disabled people.

At all times I have tried to ensure the right balance between responsibility and opportunity in the help we give.

From the back benches I will, as always, continue to support you and the government in carrying forward Labour's programme for social justice, a strong economy and opportunity for all.

I am grateful to you for the opportunity to have served and for your having asked me to stay on. I have, though, come to this decision after careful thought and my mind is settled.

Best wishes, Andrew.

TONY BLAIR'S REPLY

Dear Andrew,

I am sorry that you have taken the decision to resign from the Government. As you say in your letter, I very much wanted you to stay but I accept that your mind is made up.

You have been an excellent colleague and a first class Minister who will be greatly missed.

The Department of Work and Pensions has flourished under your leadership, due, in no small measure, to your commitment to the needs of millions of people whom the Department has striven to assist.

Thank you for all you have done for the Labour Government and the Labour Party. I wish you and Val the very best for the future.

Yours ever, Tony.


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