Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reshuffled his top team, bringing a raft of new faces into his Cabinet.
Most of the big moves were made on Wednesday afternoon, with junior ministerial appointments continuing Thursday.
But who is in and who is out?
Liz Truss – Foreign Secretary
The South West Norfolk MP has come a long way since becoming an internet meme thanks to a very strange speech about cheese. That oration aside, she’s widely believed to have done a good job as Trade Secretary, managing the rollover of existing EU trade deals with third countries into specific UK deals. She’s known as being a hawkish, libertarian free marketeer – so we are unlikely to see a change in tone on China and Russia.
Michael Gove – Housing Secretary
Aberdeen nightclub sensation / dry-as-dust reforming Tory Michael Gove has moved across to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, taking Treasury up and comer Kimi Badenoch with him. Planning reform under the Tories has been relatively piecemeal but is a totemic issue amongst Gove’s wing of the party, and hopes are high he’ll take the same reforming attitude that a) improved schools and b) angered unions at education to this department.
Nadhim Zahawi – Education Secretary
The Baghdad-born Zahawi was co-founder of YouGov and took that organisational and entrepreneurial talent into his role overseeing vaccine deployment in the past year. That has widely been considered a success (just check the two holes in your arm) and many believe Zahawi will at some point be elevated to higher office than education. For now, not being Gavin Williamson will do.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan – International Trade Secretary
Trevelyan kept schtum when her previous Cabinet appointment, as International Development Secretary, went up in smoke alongside her DfID department last year after its merger with the Foreign Office. She’s rewarded for her loyalty with a globe-trotting role that – as per earlier – did nothing to harm previous incumbent Liz Truss’ reputation.
Nadine Dorries – Culture Secretary
Perhaps the most surprising appointment, the former racy novelist and I’m a Celeb contestant is now tasked with taking on the BBC, managing the almost inevitable privatisation of Channel 4, and generally taking a frontline role in the – sigh – culture wars.
Dominic Raab – Justice Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister
A former human rights lawyer of some repute, Raab did a good job as Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State during the pandemic, notably stepping in for the PM when he fell into intensive care with Covid-19. But failing to get back from a holiday to manage the evacuation of British personnel and Afghan allies from Kabul doomed him. He managed to secure the new DPM title as part of heated negotiations with the Prime Minister yesterday.
Oliver Dowden – Co-Chair of the Tory Party
Moving from Culture Secretary to party boss may seem like a demotion but Dowden, who worked at Conservative HQ at the start of his career, is reportedly very excited to get stuck into election planning. His appointment is a reminder that this Government is never long out of campaign mode.
What more is there to say about Gavin Williamson’s education tenure? Between a botched exam results algorithm rollout and confusing black sports stars Marcus Rashford and Maro Itoje, his copybook was blotted to the point that surviving a reshuffle would have been truly staggering. But don’t rule out a comeback – he remains frightfully ambitious, and a master of the political dark arts.
A Boris loyalist to the point of the surreal at points, his fealty failed to save him after getting too close to scandals as Housing Secretary – and getting too close to Richard Desmond. He may well be back in due course.
Thoroughly well-respected and competent, Buckland was moved on from the Justice Department largely to make space for others. He didn’t go quietly – writing a letter to the PM demanding more cash for the system to deal with backlogs and improve rehab work.