Donald Rumsfeld has resigned as US Defence Secretary after a disappointing mid term election for the Republican Party.

Mr Rumsfeld has been blamed for strategic blunders in Iraq and not equipping the military adequately and has also been attacked by gay groups for upholding the Pentagon’s ban on openly gay and lesbian recruits.

His resignation comes after the Republican losses implied discontent with the US policy in Iraq.

He will not be missed by the gay community after earlier this year it was revealed that the Department of Defence still listed homosexuality alongside mental problems, despite it being declassified as a condition by the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1973.

As Defence Secretary he also brushed off criticism that the department was spying on gay protest groups.

Mr Rumsfeld has also ignored pleas by campaign groups to abandon the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy which they argue causes discrimination and is harmful to the military when it is in need of recruits.

US President George W Bush plans to replace him with CIA Director Robert Gates.