Defence secretary resigns

Defence Secretary John Hutton has resigned, media reported Friday, the fourth cabinet minister to resign in a week as Prime Minister Gordon Brown reshuffled his government.

Hutton is said to be stepping down as a minister and lawmaker for family reasons. The reports came hours after Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell stepped down and called for Brown to quit.

Hutton could reportedly be replaced by Shaun Woodward, who is currently Northern Ireland Secretary.

Like Purnell, Hutton is seen as a Blairite within the Labour Party -- someone who is more aligned with the modernising agenda of former premier Tony Blair than with Brown.

But he has been in Brown's cabinet since Brown took over from Blair in 2007 and has been loyal to him since then. He formerly served as business secretary and was appointed to defence in 2008.

People look at the moon at the Temple of Hercules at the Citadel in Amman. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed