MICHAEL Gove and Dominic Raab have been demoted during Boris Johnson’s reshuffle, while Liz Truss bagged a promotion to Foreign Secretary.
Tory MPs were seen going in and out of Number 10 on Wednesday as the Prime Minister carried out a dramatic reshaping of his top team.
The SNP said the reshuffle showed the Tory government is “out of talent and out of touch” and “rewarding failure”.
Gavin Williamson, Education Secretary, Robert Buckland, Justice Secretary, and Robert Jenrick, Housing Secretary, were all sacked as the reshuffle kicked off in the afternoon.
Tory party co-chair Amanda Milling was also ousted, just weeks before the Conservative conference.
Williamson had been heavily criticised for his handling of the education brief during the pandemic, with many expecting him to go on Wednesday.
He 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.”
Raab was the first demotion to be revealed, but it was not unexpected after the severe criticism levelled at him regarding his holiday to Crete when Afghanistan fell to the Taliban.
Raab was demoted to Justice Secretary on Wednesday
The former Foreign Secretary will now take on the Justice Secretary brief, but with the added title of Deputy Prime Minister, thought to be a form of appeasement. The full details of the deputy brief have yet to be revealed.
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.”
Next up was Gove, who was moved from Cabinet Office minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
He will still hold reponsibility for the Union and elections, Number 10 have said. Johnson has tasked him with his “levelling up agenda”, tackling the housing crisis and pushing through planning reforms that are a highly contentious point amongst Tory backbenchers.
And, in the biggest promotion of the day, Truss was handed the Foreign Secretary role, moving from her role as Trade Secretary. Truss is only the second woman in history to hold the position.
Priti Patel remained as Home Secretary and said it was “a huge privilege” to remain in charge of the Home Office, despite the criticism levied at her Nationality and Borders Bill which could criminalise asylum seekers.
Alister Jack stayed in post as Scotland Secretary, alongside Wales Secretary Simon Hart, Environment Secretary George Eustice and Lord David Frost, Minister for State at the Cabinet Office.
Rishi Sunak, Chancellor, Ben Wallace, Defence Secretary, Sajid Javid, Health Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, Business Secretary, and Mark Spencer, chief whip, will also stay on in their roles.
Alister Jack was one of many MPs who will keep their job
Alok Sharma will also remain in post as President of COP26, while Therese Coffey keeps the Work and Pensions brief, Grant Shapps stays in Transport and Brandon Lewis in Northern Ireland.
Elsewhere, Nadhim Zahawi, former vaccines minister who oversaw the rollout, took over the Education brief from Williamson.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan takes on the role of Trade Secretary after Truss’s promotion, Stephen Barclay takes over from Gove as Cabinet Office minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and Oliver Dowden was made Minister without portfolio.
Controversial MP Nadine Dorries, previously mental health minister, was given a promotion to the role of Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Nadine Dorries has been given the Culture Secretary role
The last two appointments were Jacob Rees-Mogg, who will stay in place as Lord President of the Council, and Leader of the House of Commons, and Suella Braverman who remains Attorney General, having been reappointed to the role this week after her return from maternity leave.
SNP Westminster Deputy Leader Kirsten Oswald MP, said: “The Prime Minister is rewarding failure by clinging onto Dominic Raab, Priti Patel, Michael Gove and a string of failed Tory ministers who wouldn’t pass their probation in a normal workplace.
“It beggars belief that UK government ministers can break the ministerial code, act unlawfully, jet off on holiday during a crisis, and fail to fulfil their basic duties – yet keep their place in the Tory Cabinet at the taxpayers’ expense.
“It is especially bizarre that Michael Gove has been given responsibility for the Union, given polls show he is even less popular in Scotland than Boris Johnson – and will boost support for independence.
“After a decade of abysmal Tory failure and cuts, millions of people are poorer and worse off.
“The UK has had the weakest levels of economic growth of any country in north west Europe – and the highest levels of poverty and inequality.
“The only way to keep Scotland safe from more Tory cuts and Westminster governments we don’t vote for is to become an independent country, with the full powers needed to build a strong, fair and equal future.”
For a full run down of who was appointed and when, you can read our liveblog here.