Mr Hunt said: “I would have been honoured to carry on my work at the Foreign Office, but understand the need for a new PM to choose his team.

“Boris Johnson kindly offered me another role but after nine years in Cabinet and over 300 cabinet meetings, now is the time to return to backbenches from where the PM will have my full support.”

Mr Hunt said he now intended to be a “good dad” to his three children, all of whom had been born during his stint in the cabinet.

He said he was “truly humbled” to have received the votes of one-third of Conservative members in the leadership race.