Tobias Ellwood has quit as Defence Committee chairman ahead of an expected vote of no confidence.
The Conservative former defence minister had faced a backlash over the summer from fellow committee members after claiming that security in Afghanistan has “vastly improved” and “corruption is down” since the fundamentalists returned in 2021.
In a resignation statement, Mr Ellwood said “poor communications” about engagement with Afghanistan were “understandably criticised” and announced he would step down with “deep regret”.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, he said: “It is with deep regret that I have tendered my resignation as Chair of the Defence Committee. I believe I have a strong voice when it comes to defence and security. I stand up, speak my mind, try to see the bigger picture and offer solutions, especially on the international stage, as our world turns a dangerous corner.
“I don’t always get it right – so it’s right I put my hand up when I don’t. Poor communications, during the summer, in calling for greater international engagement in Afghanistan was understandably criticised at the time and reflected poorly on the Committee.
“Whilst I do believe I retain the support of the majority of the committee, its dynamic and effectiveness would simply not be the same, and prove a distraction, if all in the room were not supportive of the Chair.”
He had called for Britain to reopen its embassy in Kabul, following on from the European Union re-establishing a physical presence in the territory last year.
A subsequent apology had not prevented members of the cross-party committee seeking to remove him from the high-profile role, with a no confidence motion submitted on July 19.
A notice period of 10 sitting days for such confidence motions had been due to expire on Thursday and Mr Ellwood had expected to come under pressure to retain his chairmanship.