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Dominic Raab and Gavin Williamson axed from Cabinet posts as Liz Truss becomes Foreign Secretary in major reshuffle

·7-min read
Dominic Raab and Gavin Williamson axed from Cabinet posts as Liz Truss becomes Foreign Secretary in major reshuffle

Dominic Raab and Gavin Williamson have been axed from their Cabinet posts as Boris Johnson carried out a major reshuffle.

Mr Raab lost his job as Foreign Secretary. But he will remain in the Cabinet as Deputy Prime Minister, Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor.

He is believed to have put up a fight at being moved from the Foreign Office.

However, he tweeted: “I am delighted to be appointed Justice Secretary, Lord Chancellor and Deputy Prime Minister, delivering on the PM’s commitment to cut crime, reduce reoffending and protect the public.”

Mr Williamson was axed as Education Secretary as a string of Cabinet ministers lost their jobs.

Nadhim Zahawi has been appointed to replace him in the role of Secretary of State for Education, leaving behind his role as vaccines minister.

Liz Truss has been promoted from International Trade Secretary to Foreign Secretary. With Priti Patel staying as Home Secretary, it means two of the four great offices of state are now run by women.

Michael Gove, with his reputation for pushing through difficult reforms, moves from the Cabinet Office to be Communities and Housing Secretary.

He will also be responsible for the Union, at a time of strain with Scotland after Brexit.

Gavin Williamson arriving at Downing Street to learn he was being sacked as Education Secretary (Getty Images)
Gavin Williamson arriving at Downing Street to learn he was being sacked as Education Secretary (Getty Images)

Mr Gove also takes on cross-Government responsibility for “levelling-up”, amid accusations of the Government “levelling down” in London to divert funding to boost other regions.

He will also have to resolve the row over the Government’s planning reforms, to boost housing developments, which were partly blamed for the Tories losing the Chesham and Amersham by-election.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid will remain in post after he was promoted to the role in June when Matt Hancock quit the Cabinet.

He tweeted: “Very pleased to see the job through at the Department of Health and Social Care – my toughest yet.

“I’m absolutely determined to get our country through the pandemic, tackle the backlogs and deliver lasting reforms to health and social care.”

Ben Wallace remains Secretary of State for Defence in the reshuffle while Kwasi Kwarteng said he will be continuing as Business Secretary.

Grant Shapps has stayed in his post Secretary of State for Transport and Thérèse Coffey will stay in her post as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

George Eustice has kept his post as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Lord Frost remains Minister of State.

Nadhim Zahawi has been appointed to replace him in the role of Secretary of State for Education, leaving behind his role as vaccines minister (PA)
Nadhim Zahawi has been appointed to replace him in the role of Secretary of State for Education, leaving behind his role as vaccines minister (PA)

Jacob Rees-Mogg also remains in his position as Leader of the House of Commons.

Stephen Barclay has been appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan has been named the International Trade Secretary.

Boris Johnson’s reshuffle on Wednesday also brought about the exit of Robert Buckland as Justice Secretary and Robert Jenrick as Communities and Housing Secretary.

Shortly after the Prime Minister started his reshuffle, Mr Williamson tweeted: “It has been a privilege to serve as Education Secretary since 2019.

“Despite the challenges of the global pandemic, I’m particularly proud of the transformational reforms I’ve led in Post 16 education: in further education colleges, our Skills agenda, apprenticeships and more.”

He added: “This programme will create better life opportunities for pupils and students for many years to come. I look forward to continuing to support the Prime Minster and the government.”

Liz Truss was all smiles as she left 10 Downing Street after being made Foreign Secretary (AFP via Getty Images)
Liz Truss was all smiles as she left 10 Downing Street after being made Foreign Secretary (AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Buckland became the second Cabinet minister to go.

He tweeted: “It has been an honour to serve in Government for the last 7 years, and as the Lord Chancellor for the last 2. I am deeply proud of everything I have achieved. On to the next adventure.”

Mr Jenrick was the third Cabinet minister to be removed.

He tweeted: “It’s been a huge privilege to serve as Secretary of State.

“Thank you to everyone at the department for their hard work, dedication and friendship. I’m deeply proud of all we achieved.

Michael Gove arriving at 10 Downing Street (AP)
Michael Gove arriving at 10 Downing Street (AP)

“I will continue to support the Prime Minister and the Government in every way I can.”

Mr Williamson’s departure comes just days after he was strongly criticised for confusing Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford and England rugby star Maro Itoje in an interview with the Evening Standard.

Meanwhile, Mr Raab has become Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary after being moved from Foreign Secretary.

It comes after he was hit with a backlash after not swiftly returning from holiday in Crete as the Taliban swept across Afghanistan to seize power.

Boris Johnson departing 10 Downing Street for PMQs (PA)
Boris Johnson departing 10 Downing Street for PMQs (PA)

Party co-chairwoman Amanda Milling became the fifth key figure to lose their post.

She tweeted: “It’s been a privilege and an honour to be the Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party.

“Thank you to the voluntary party and the team at CCHQ for their support.

“Thank you to @BorisJohnson for this opportunity. I will continue working to deliver on our plans to level up the UK.”

Ministers being promoted were expected to be invited to Downing Street to be told their new posts.

Robert Buckland has also lost his post (Getty Images)
Robert Buckland has also lost his post (Getty Images)

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Mr Johnson “understood the importance of having a diverse Cabinet” but would not guarantee that female representation around the table would be maintained at least at its current level following the reshuffle.

Mr Johnson’s former aide Dominic Cummings has branded the shake-up the “Carrie reshuffle”, suggesting that Ms Johnson’s allies would be rewarded.

But asked if the Prime Minister’s wife had been consulted on the reshuffle, the official Downing Street spokesman said: “No.”

Confirmation of the reshuffle came as Mr Johnson was on his feet in the Commons taking Prime Minister's Questions.

During Prime Minister’s Questions, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Priti Patel were sat to Mr Johnson’s left and Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg to his right – with other heavy hitters in the Cabinet not seen in the chamber.

Party co-chairwoman Amanda Milling became the fifth key figure to lose their post (REUTERS)
Party co-chairwoman Amanda Milling became the fifth key figure to lose their post (REUTERS)

A shake-up of the Prime Minister’s top team has been long expected in Westminster.

“The PM will on Wednesday conduct a reshuffle to put in place a strong and united team to Build Back Better from the pandemic,” the source said on Wednesday.

“On Tuesday the PM set out his plan for managing Covid during the autumn and winter.

“But the Government must also redouble our efforts to deliver on the people’s priorities.

“The PM will be appointing ministers this afternoon with a focus on uniting and levelling up the whole country.”

Mr Williamson has been the focus of anger of many parents over the bungled school exams and closing them during the pandemic.

He previously served as Defence Secretary but was sacked from the post in May 2019 after an inquiry into a leak from a National Security Council meeting.

The probe was launched following reports over proposals to allow Chinese communications giant Huawei limited access to help build the UK’s new 5G network.

Mr Williamson strongly denied being the source of the leak.

Ms Patel, who was at the centre of speculation that she may lose her job over the failure to stop thousands of migrants crossing the Channel to Britain, tweeted: “A huge privilege to continue serving as Home Secretary under our Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“There is still so much more to do to deliver for the British people. Tackling illegal migration, cutting crime and continuing to keep our great country safe.”

Mark Spencer remains Chief Whip, No 10 said.

Nadine Dorries has been appointed Culture Secretary and Oliver Dowden has been appointed Minister without Portfolio in the Cabinet Office.

In a statement released a couple of hours into the reshuffle, No10 said: “Robert Buckland, Robert Jenrick and Gavin Williamson have now left Government.”

It added: “Gavin Williamson has played a key role in transforming the skills agenda as we create a high wage and high skilled economy, providing a lifetime skills guarantee for millions across the country. The Prime Minister is grateful for his loyalty and service.”

The statement noticeably made no reference to his handling of the schools and exams crises during the pandemic.

It added: “Robert Buckland has made a huge contribution to government as Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, including making our streets safer through significant reforms to sentencing and tackling reoffending. The Prime Minister is grateful for his hard work and dedication.

“Robert Jenrick has led crucial work over the last two years, most importantly driving reforms to build more houses so home ownership becomes a reality for many more people. The Prime Minister is grateful for his drive and commitment.”

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