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Johnson makes significant changes in Cabinet reshuffle

A significant reshuffle of the Cabinet has taken place, with multiple ministers being sacked and Sajid Javid resigning from his role as Chancellor. 

A reshuffle of the Cabinet had been expected, but it was widely thought that most key ministers would remain in their posts. It is understood that Mr Javid was asked to sack all his advisers but refused and instead resigned.

There have been tensions and multiple clashes between Mr Javid and Mr Johnson's senior adviser Dominic Cummings since he entered the role. 

Rishi Sunak, the Conservative MP for Richmond (Yorks) is to replace Mr Javid as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr Sunak has significantly less experience than Mr Javid did when he entered the role as Chancellor, however, he has served as the Cheif Secretary to the Treasury since July 2019.

Elsewhere in the reshuffle, the following people have all been sacked or invited to resign from their posts.

  • Esther McVey has been sacked from the role of Housing Minister
  • Theresa Villiers has been sacked from the role of Environment Secretary
  • Andrea Leadsom has been sacked from the role of Business Secretary 
  • Geoffrey Cox was invited to resign from the role of Attorney General and has left his post
  • Julian Smith has been sacked from the role of Northern Ireland Secretary
  • Chris Skidmore has been sacked from the role of Education Minister
  • Nus Ghani has been sacked from the role of Transport Minister
  • George Freeman has been sacked from the role of Transport Minister
  • Baroness Morgan has resigned from the role of Culture Secretary

Julian Smith was sacked just weeks are organising the deal which has seen the power-sharing administration restored in Stormont. Mr Smith tweeted that it had been the "biggest privilege" to serve the people of Northern Ireland, while Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar called Mr Smith "one of Britain's finest politicians of our time".

Those staying in their current roles include;

  • Priti Patel remains as Home Secretary
  • Dominic Raab remains as Foreign Secretary
  • Matt Hancock remains as Health Secretary
  • Liz Truss remains as Trade Secretary
  • Robert Buckland remains as Justice Secretary
  • Robert Jenrick remains as Communities Secretary
  • Gavin Williamson remains as Education Secretary
  • Ben Wallace remains as Defence Secretary
  • Grant Shapps remains as Transport Secretary
  • Simon Hart remains as Welsh Secretary
  • Alister Jack remains as Scottish Secretary
  • Mark Spencer remains as Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Cheif Whip)
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg remains as Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
  • Michael Gove remains as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office

The following individuals have entered roles which were made vacant through departures from the Cabinet during the reshuffle;

  • Rishi Sunak appointed Chancellor
  • Anne-Marie Trevelyan appointed International Development Secretary
  • Oliver Dowden appointed Culture Secretary
  • George Eustice appointed Environment Secretary
  • Suella Braverman appointed Attorney General
  • Brandon Lewis appointed Northern Ireland Secretary 
  • Amanda Milling appointed Conservative Party Chair and Minister without Portfolio
  • Stephen Barclay (former Brexit Secretary) has been appointed Cheif Secretary to the Treasury

Mr Johnson had also been expected to appoint new ministers to oversee the HS2 project and run the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow later this year. It has been confirmed that Alok Sharma has been appointed as both Business Secretary and Minister for the COP26 climate summit.

 

Analysis

The Cabinet reshuffle was expected to be somewhat uneventful, with no major changes taking place. However, the resignation of a key minister, Sajid Javid changed this. The resignation of the now former Chancellor could throw into question the date of next month's scheduled budget, and could also see No10 exerting much more control over the operations of the Chancellor and his team in No11.

The Cabinet reshuffle seems to have shown Boris Johnson choose power over people, with many ministers sacked who may have been considered to not be completely loyal to the PM or running their department well. Boris Johnson has a strong majority in Parliament, but will still not want a divided Cabinet, especially in a time of considerable challenges for the government on Brexit, health, crime, transport and the environment.

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