UK politics and policy updates
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Boris Johnson reorganized his team of senior ministers on Wednesday in an attempt to revive his domestic reform agenda and improve Britain’s position on the world stage.
The British Prime Minister used the first major reorganization of this parliament to fire four cabinet members, including several long-time allies and those who have become politically responsible.
Michael Gove was transferred from the Cabinet Office to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to oversee planning reforms and the “escalation” agenda to address regional inequality, both of which are at the core of Johnson’s 2024 election campaign.
In his new role, Gove will continue to maintain contact with the decentralized governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. He was replaced by former Treasury Chief Secretary Steve Barclays in the Cabinet Office.
Johnson fired Education Secretary Gavin Williamson from his government, local government secretary Robert Jenrick, and Conservative Party co-chair Amanda Millin, all of whom were early supporters of his leadership of the Conservative Party. Attorney General Robert Buckland was removed from office.
Other senior ministers such as Minister of Finance Rishi Sunak and Minister of the Interior Priti Patel, Minister of Health Sajid Javid and Minister of Commerce Kwasi Kwarteng still retain their current positions.
Nadhim Zahawi was praised by Conservative MPs for handling the introduction of the British vaccine, and he was promoted to Minister of Education. His main focus will be on monitoring children’s academic catch-up after the pandemic.
International Trade Minister Liz Truss was promoted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she replaced Dominic Raab. British withdrawal from chaos in Afghanistan.
In the Department of International Trade, Truss was replaced by Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the former Secretary of Energy and Johnson’s other long-term ally. She also represents the Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency in northern England.
Johnson unexpectedly appointed Nadine Dorries as Minister of Culture, a staunch Conservative Party and long-time ally, promoted from Junior Health Minister. A senior member of the Conservative Party said that her appointment would “increase the stakes” in response to the so-called “culture war” and the government’s efforts to reform the BBC.
Johnson’s last cabinet reorganization was after Britain officially left the European Union in February 2020, but many of his senior ministers have not changed their roles since becoming prime minister in July 2019.
A senior official in Downing Street stated that the reorganization will create a “strong and united team” that “focuses on uniting and improving the entire country.”
The reorganization was widely welcomed by Conservative Party MPs, who hoped that the new appointment would reduce the chaos in Whitehall. An influential backbencher said: “The cabinet’s choice seems to be wise. People have recognized the need for capacity.”
Another senior MP said: “He cleared the dead wood and brought a good choice. Now, let us hope that it will lead to a better government.”
After a long meeting with the Prime Minister, Raab was transferred from Minister of Foreign Affairs to Minister of Justice. Johnson also appointed Raab as Deputy Prime Minister, but his new role was considered demoted by Conservative Party MPs.
The former Minister of Culture Oliver Dowden was transferred to the chairmanship of the Conservative Party. An ally of Johnson said that after the unexpected defeat of the Chesham and Amersham by-elections in June, the prime minister hoped that Dawden would “master the Conservative Party machine”.
It is expected to continue the reorganization on Thursday and assume the post of junior minister. Johnson expects to make major changes at this level in preparation for another reorganization in 2024. An ally of Johnson said, “This is a two-phase project.”