Boris Johnson convened the first meeting of his new look Cabinet in Number 10 this morning after a brutal reshuffle which saw Sajid Javid resign and the PM promote a wave of loyalists.
Mr Johnson sat down with his updated top team from 10am as he set out the vision for his new administration and asked his senior ministers to approve the UK’s new immigration system which will replace EU freedom of movement.
The meeting in Downing Street came after a day of high drama which left Westminster stunned as Mr Javid’s unexpected exit totally disrupted the PM’s plans for a smooth shake-up.
Mr Javid chose to walk away from the government rather than accept a demand from Mr Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings to sack all of his aides and replace them with advisers chosen by Number 10.
His departure opened the way for Rishi Sunak, 39, to be promoted to the role of Chancellor having previously served as Mr Javid’s deputy as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
Mr Javid accused Mr Johnson of setting conditions ‘any self-respecting minister’ would reject – a thinly veiled swipe at his successor.
The move was seen as a power grab by Mr Cummings with Mr Sunak reportedly immediately under pressure from Number 10 to tear up his predecessor’s tight spending rules and allow Mr Johnson to splash the cash at the next Budget.
But the elevation of Mr Sunak has cast doubt on whether that Budget, currently scheduled for March 11, will go ahead amid speculation it could be delayed.
Downing Street refused to guarantee the date yesterday with a spokesman saying only that ‘extensive preparations have already been carried out for the Budget and they will continue at pace’.
Meanwhile, accusations of a power grab were likely to grow after it emerged that Downing Street had immediately moved some of its troops into the Treasury last night to help Mr Sunak.
Boris Johnson, pictured in Downing Street yesterday, conducted a brutal reshuffle of his Cabinet
The shake-up saw Sajid Javid, pictured leaving his London home this morning, quit the government as he refused a demand from Dominic Cummings to sack all of his aides
Mr Cummings appeared to be in good spirits as he was photographed leaving his London home this morning
That comes ahead of the creation of a ‘joint’ economic unit based across Number 10 and the Treasury which will make decisions, changing a power dynamic in Whitehall which has existed for decades.
Numerous other senior figures also left the government yesterday as Mr Johnson wielded the axe.
Julian Smith was unceremoniously dumped as Northern Ireland secretary just weeks after brokering a deal which restored the power-sharing administration at Stormont.
Andrea Leadsom was sacked as business secretary, Theresa Villiers lost her job as environment secretary and Geoffrey Cox was removed from his post as attorney general.
Esther McVey lost her role as housing minister, and the total number of women attending Cabinet fell from eight to seven – while the total number of ministers attending shrank from 32 to 26.
But there were a series of promotions for Tory MPs loyal to Mr Johnson.
Alok Sharma was promoted from international development to become the new Business Secretary and he will also be minister for the COP26 UN climate summit, which is due to take place in Glasgow in November.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan joined the Cabinet as International Development Secretary, having previously been a defence minister.
Oliver Dowden became a full Cabinet member as Culture Secretary, having previously attended the meetings as paymaster general, and George Eustice was promoted to Environment Secretary from his previous more junior role in the same department.
Brandon Lewis was appointed as Northern Ireland Secretary, while former Brexit minister Suella Braverman returned to the Government as Attorney General.
Ex-Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay has replaced Mr Sunak as Treasury Chief Secretary.
Amanda Milling was made Conservative Party chairman – a role in which she will attend Cabinet as a minister without portfolio.
Former defence secretary Penny Mordaunt will return to Government as Paymaster General in the Cabinet Office.
Rishi Sunak, pictured right arriving in Downing Street this morning, replaced Mr Javid as Chancellor. Stephen Barclay returned to Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Suella Braverman, pictured left, and Anne-Marie Trevelyan, pictured right, were both promoted to the Cabinet yesterday
Mr Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel are expected to brief Cabinet on the UK’s new immigration system today with Cabinet asked to rubberstamp the blueprint.
The new points-based immigration system could reduce the number of low-skilled migrant workers from European Union countries by up to 90,000 a year.
Under existing rules workers from the EU and European Economic Area countries can come to the UK to live or work without a visa.
EU freedom of movement to the UK is due to end at the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020 with the new system in place at the start of 2021.
Mr Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel have now decided on how the new system, due to be unveiled within weeks, will operate.
It will close the route for low-skilled migrants though short-term visas will be considered for occupations experiencing shortages.
Source: Daily Mail – Articles