A TORY minister has resigned from Rishi Sunak’s government.

Robert Halfon unexpectedly quit as an education minister, becoming the second Conservative minister to leave government on Tuesday.

James Heappey also officially confirmed his resignation as armed forces minister, which was announced earlier this month

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Halfon said: “I believe that across the country, there is quiet admiration for your work ethic, integrity and ability to solve complex problems faced by our country.

“I look forward to continuing to wholeheartedly support you from the backbenches in the weeks and months ahead, at the upcoming election, and of course, to spending my remaining time as an MP, championing Harlow.”

In a second letter to the chair of his local Conservative Association, Halfon quoted Gandalf, the wizard from the Lord of the Rings. 

He wrote: "Political life, while fulfilling, has its ups and downs. At these times, I read JRR Tolkien both as a great source of comfort, but also for some good advice.

"As I move towards stepping down at the General Election, I am reminded of what Gandalf said to Frodo Baggins after the defeat of Sauron in the Lord of the Rings: 'I am with you at present... but soon I shall not be. I am not coming to the Shire ... My time is over: it is no longer my task to set things to rights, nor to help folk to do so. And as for you, my dear friends, you will need no help... among the great you are, and I have no longer any fear at all for any of you.'

"Although I often feel more like the character Bilbo Baggins than Gandalf, I believe these words have great resonance, and perfectly capture my feelings as I move onto my next journey in life."

The news comes as Heappey confirmed his resignation as armed forces minister, saying he has “loved every minute” in the role.

The Tory MP for Wells posted on Twitter/X: “I’ve loved every minute as MinAF in this incredible department. Our Armed Forces & MOD civil servants are the very best of us.

“Representing them in Parliament & around the world over last 4.5 years has been an amazing privilege.”

Halfon was first elected to Westminster in 1999 while Heappy was elected in 2015.

The two resignations mean Sunak will have to hold a mini-reshuffle of his ministers over Easter, with recess beginning on Tuesday.