In yet another blow to beleaguered British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Foreign Office Minister Lord Mark Malloch-Brown has announced his decision to quit this month end, weeks after several of the Premier's Cabinet colleagues resigned in protest over his leadership.
In a statement, Lord Malloch Brown, one of the high-profile professionals appointed as minister in-charge of India, Africa and the UN by the Prime Minister two years ago, said he was standing down for "personal and family reasons."
He said he had entered government "as a professional not a politician. My decision to step down at the end of July is not in any way a commentary on the political situation.
"I joined the government at his (Gordon Brown's) invitation to help promote his international priorities. It has been a great privilege to do that, and to work with him and with (Foreign Secretary) David Miliband."
"I have always said that I would not do this job forever. And I have strong personal and family reasons for moving on at this time," Lord Malloch Brown, the former UN Deputy Secretary General, said.
His move comes as a fresh blow to Brown after several ministers announced last month that they were resigning as the Prime Minister tried to reassert his authority with a Cabinet reshuffle in the wake of an MPs' expenses scandal.
However, the peer said he "greatly admired" the Premier and continued to support government.