A member of Britain's House of Lords has drawn praise and puzzlement for resigning as a government minister because he was late to answer a question.

International Development Minister Michael Bates apologized to another member "for my discourtesy for not being in my place to answer her question on a very important matter." Bates said Wednesday he was "thoroughly ashamed" and "shall be offering my resignation."

With that, he walked out of the Lords chamber to the astonishment of other members.

Former Foreign Secretary William Hague, who now sits in Parliament's upper chamber, said he hoped "my noble friend, who has given 20 years of strong public service" would reconsider.

Bates quit a previous government position in 2016 to walk 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) across South America for charity.