Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society since the coalition government came to power in May 2010, resigned last night as the Prime Minister began a major government reshuffle.
"Thanks to so many friends and critics in our brilliant voluntary sector," Hurd tweeted. "You have often driven me nuts, but my respect and love are undimmed."
He also tweeted that he was proud of the National Citizen Service, Big Society Capital, Community Organisers, the Community First grants scheme, the volunteering website Step up to Serve and social investment bonds.
It is not clear whether Hurd left voluntarily or under pressure from Number 10, which is undertaking a major reshuffle of government jobs and introducing more female faces into its ministerial team.
Hurd is the MP for the west London constituency of Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, which is in the path of the projected new high-speed rail link HS2. He has challenged details of the plan and supported the extension of the Northolt tunnel, planned to emerge in West Ruislip, to beyond the Colne Valley.
He abstained from votes in the Commons on the HS2 proposals in April.
He said in a statement to local media today that the existing proposals on HS2 were unacceptable and that he would vote against them if they were not changed.
He said that he was looking forward to spending more time with his family.
"After eight years on the front bench, I am now looking forward to getting my life back and having more time to spend in the constituency and with a new baby, expected in September," he said.
Before 2010, Hurd was the shadow minister for the then Office of the Third Sector for 18 months. After the election, he presided over extensive cuts to government schemes for the sector, including the strategic partners programme.
Sector leaders have paid tribute to Hurd’s time in office and said that he would be missed.
Nicky Morgan, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, who had responsibility for voluntary sector matters including tax and gift aid, has been promoted to education secretary as part of the reshuffle.