THERE was a "fracture of crucial trust" between the prime minister, the government and Parliament which could not be repaired.

That is the opinion of MP Simon Hart, who spoke after resigning from his post as secretary of state for Wales last week.

The MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire resigned on the evening of Wednesday, July 6, one of more than 50 senior Conservatives who quit their posts following a series of revelations about prime minister Boris Johnson, including that he had appointed deputy chief whip Chris Pincher despite being aware of allegations of misconduct against him.

Following days of pressure, Mr Johnson eventually announced he would quit as leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister last Thursday, kicking off a contest to pick his replacement.

Following his resignation, and that of the prime minister, Simon Hart spoke exclusively to our sister title, Western Telegraph, saying that looking back, Mr Johnson would have done things differently.

“Could things have been done differently? Yes, probably,” Mr Hart said. “Would he say that if you were talking to him? Definitely. I know there are lots of things he’d wish he’d have done differently.”

He added that “a combination of things” led to Mr Johnson’s resignation.

“Boris’ strengths are in many cases also his great weaknesses, and I think what we’ve seen is him run out of road as far as that’s concerned," he continued.

“I think a combination of things – some of which are his fault, some of which are not – have all collided at around the same time and caused this fracture of crucial trust that you need between the prime minister and the rest of the government and the rest of Parliament, in a way that now cannot be repaired.

“Politics is very much like the weather – it does what it does, and at the moment there is that collective view that the manner in which Boris operates has worn thin with a sufficient number of colleagues.

"We have taken the view that there now needs to be a reset and a change to reflect the world we are now occupying.”

Mr Hart concluded that he still holds Boris Johnson in high regard, and looks back fondly on his time in his cabinet.

“A lot of what has happened over the last year comes to me as no surprise,” he said. “I actually also think that history will judge him well on things like the pandemic and other big world events, like Ukraine and as the expression goes, ‘getting the big calls right.’

“In a funny way, the things I said about the prime minister in the past, I stand by. Boris is a wonderfully entertaining, different, anarchic, rebellious, non-conformist politician.

“People said he wouldn’t win a mayoral election in London, he won two. They said he wouldn’t be able to get elected, which he did. They said he wouldn’t become leader of the Tory party, which he did. They said he wouldn’t win a Brexit referendum that he did. They said he’d never win an election which he did.

“His encyclopaedic knowledge on history, geography and the way the world works has been incredibly useful.

“I think in many respects, it’s rather sad. I wish Boris absolutely no evil. I am not resentful, I don’t feel bitter. I think we part with him on a fairly friendly basis.”

Mr Hart replaced Alun Cairns as secretary of state for Wales after the 2019 General Election, having first been elected as MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire in 2010.

Mr Hart said that he will look back on the ‘hectic’ period of his life with pride.

He said: “I think as with the passage of time, I will be able to look at it more objectively and I think I’ll look back and think ‘Blimey, I was right in the middle of all of that, from the beginning to the end.’

“I remember all those early meetings when we were learning what the hell Covid was, what a pandemic was, what its potential was.

“I think I’ll look back at that with pride because so many people from the top to the bottom did put their shoulder to the wheel.

“I hope history will actually look kindly on the national effort. When you’re dealing with an unknown quantity like that, there’s an awful lot of ‘what will be the best way of managing the crisis.’

“We did what we did with the evidence we had and the money that we had, the expertise that we had.

“It certainly was hectic. I think there was a cruel irony that the day Boris Johnson stood up in Parliament to declare Covid restrictions finally lifted, withing 24 hours, Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, and we were into a whole other world of difficulty and risk and threat and cost.

“There was this ‘God, give us a break. We haven’t even had a day.’”

Mr Hart then admitted that a sudden change from the cabinet to the backbenches has been hard to adapt to in the early days.

“It’s a very weird feeling, the first few days,” he said. “Other people would have experienced this too. You hand in your laptop, you hand over your phone, the ministerial car mysteriously disappears, all the perks of the job are instantly suspended.

“It’s a big lifestyle change. All the engagements I had, all the stuff I had planned. The diary is literally wiped clean like a whiteboard.

“You feel left behind very quickly because the world moves on, and it’s a case of ‘The King is Dead, Long Live the King.’

“It’s a substantial change. The ministerial role is very challenging, it’s very very punishing. I love it and it is a massive privilege, I know everybody says that.

“But when it stops, you suddenly have a feeling that you are instantly at a very different pace and all those things which we’ve all become quite used to.

“It does enable me to take a bit of a breath. I won’t have to go all around the rest of Wales as part of my job, I’ll be able to spend my time in my constituency. That’s a silver lining in what is quite a big, dark cloud.”