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Villiers exit expected when new Tory cabinet named

Ms Villiers was among the key campaigners arguing for the UK's withdrawal from the EU 

Theresa Villiers is expected to be moved out of her role as secretary of state before the end of the year.

While it was widely expected that the Chipping Barnet MP would be on the losing side in Thursday's EU referendum, the Leave campaign's unexpected victory may well give her political career a new lease of life.

Ms Villiers was among the key campaigners arguing for the UK's withdrawal from the EU and her loyalty will likely lead to a promotion when a new cabinet is named in the autumn.

The scenario which puts the secretary of state in line for one of the post-Cameron Tory government's top jobs contrasts with her widely-expected demotion had the Remain campaign won the vote. Some commentators had even suggested that a Leave defeat would have seen Ms Villiers's stay in the north extended indefinitely as the pro-EU prime minister wreaked his revenge.

However, it is David Cameron's political career that now lies in tatters.

The secretary of state, who was appointed to the top NIO post in 2012, described the British prime minister's decision to step down is "truly shocking".

Ms Villiers was among 84 senior Tory MPs who signed a letter urging Mr Cameron to remain in Number 10 whatever the outcome of the referendum.

Reacting to her leader's decision to resign ahead of October's Tory party conference, she said: "It's truly shocking news, I think it's deeply saddening.

"As I was just saying only a few minutes ago, I would very much have preferred David Cameron to be steering this country through the next few years.

"I entirely respect his decision but I think it is a sad day for the country that he has decided to stand down."

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