The Afternoon of the Short Daggers: The A-Z of Boris Johnson's September Cabinet Reshuffle
16:04 GMT 15.09.2021 (Updated: 15:15 GMT 28.05.2023)
Boris Johnson has been under pressure to reshuffle his Cabinet after a fraught few weeks which have included the fall of Kabul and a series of negative stories about UK schools. But who goes where in his new look Cabinet?
Dominic Raab has lost his job as Foreign Secretary after a campaign to oust him after he refused to come back from a holiday in Greece to deal with the situation in Kabul following the Taliban takeover.
But he has retained the Deputy Prime Minister role and is being given an important role as Justice Secretary, replacing Robert Buckland.
Raab will be in charge of prisons in England and Wales and of the criminal justice system, including the courts which have been struggling during the pandemic.
Trials are way behind schedule and some defendants have been told they will have to remain in custody until 2022 or even 2023 for their trial.
Alistair Jones, an associate professor of politics at De Montfort University in Leicester, told Sputnik: “Dominic Raab is the big one. He is moved from the Foreign Office to Justice, Lord Chancellor, and Deputy PM. He is a lawyer by training. It is a step down, although the title of Deputy PM will assuage his ego.”
Mr Jones said: “Raab has handled a number of foreign affairs badly - most notably Afghanistan withdrawal, where he went off on holiday. He has also been missing over aspects of Brexit. The civil service in the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) will be pleased to see the back of him, as there was a feeling that Raab was rather idle.”
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is not going anywhere. He has been one of the government’s top performers and there is even talk of him being a future prime minister.
After a spell as International Trade Secretary since 2019, Liz Truss has been promoted to one of the highest offices of state, Foreign Secretary.
Truss, 46, became Tory MP for South West Norfolk in 2010 and was Environment Secretary under David Cameron and Justice Secretary under Theresa May.
She was a Liberal Democrat at university but two years later joined the Conservative Party and built a career as a management accountant.
Alistair Jones told Sputnik: "Liz Truss as Foreign Secretary is a huge move. She was at International Trade, and had played a role in negotiating post-Brexit trade deals. There has been a lot of hype about these deals, although they have also been condemned as damaging British farming. There was a feeling, in some quarters, that Truss was out of her depth in International Trade."
The Home Secretary is also a non-mover. She is popular among Conservative party members, although her brusque and allegedly bullying style has made her deeply unpopular among the civil service.
She recently took on the counter-terrorism portfolio as well when James Brokenshire, who is fighting cancer, was unable to return to work.
Alistair Jones said: "Noting the charges of breaking the Ministerial Code of Conduct again, it is a surprise that Patel has not been moved."
The keen Brexiteer was Cabinet Office minister before, a role which involved him doing a bit of everything.
He has now been appointed as Housing Secretary, replacing Robert Jenrick.
Gove, 54, recently announced he was splitting from his wife and was photographed dancing in a nightclub, much to the amusement of TV panel show guests.
But he is a shrewd political operator who has bounced back from many setbacks - including famously stabbing Johnson in the back when he ran for the leadership when David Cameron resigned in 2016 and then failing in his own leadership bid.
Gove has patched up his relations with Johnson since and has a similar political outlook.
Alistair Jones told Sputnik: "Michael Gove goes to Housing, Communities and Local Government. He was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, which was a cabinet post without a department. Gove is seen as a ‘do-er'. He will drive through the levelling up agenda. He will have to deal with the Combined Authorities and with local government. There are plans to restructure local government in England and he will push this through."
Ben Wallace, who has been Defence Secretary since July 2019, keeps his job.
He survived the fall of Kabul unscathed, with British troops being praised for helping evacuate Afghans while the opprobrium
was aimed at the Foreign Office and mandarins at the British Embassy.
The former Chancellor is confirmed to stay on as Health Secretary, a role he has only been in for two months. He replaced Matt Hancock who had to resign after he was caught on camera snogging an aide.
Javid was not thought likely to be moved as he has a lot on his plate with the battle against the coronavirus, new spending on the NHS and the government’s plans for social care.
The vaccines minister gets promoted to Cabinet level as Education Secretary, replacing the sacked Gavin Williamson.
The appointment of the Liverpool-born, council estate-raised daughter bus driver to lead the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Department raised eyebrows among even conservative political reporters and editors.
The former Brexit minister moves from Chief Treasury Secretary to Michael Gove's still-warm cabinet seta as chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and cabinet office minister.
The Berwick-upon-Tweed MP has been promoted from junior minister for business, energy and clean growth to take over from Truss as Trade Secretary.
Kwarteng stays on as Business Secretary after impressing in his eight months in the role.
The MP for Sherwood stays on as Chief Whip and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, a title that goes with the whip's job.
Sharma stays on as COP 26 climate conference president — no return to seat on the cabinet for the Indian-born MP for Reading West yet. Sharma's last senior ministerial position was as international development secretary from July 2019 to February 2020. That ministry that was merged with the Foreign Office in September 2020.
Coffey keeps her job as Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, despite drawing fire from some quarters earlier this week when she said the £20 reduction in Universal Credit could be made up by people working two more hours a week.
No change at the transport stop, with Shapps staying put in the role crucial during the pandemic as it includes airports and road haulage.
Another steady-as-she goes ministry is the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) where George Eustice stays on as secretary of state after the summer silly season furore over the putting-down of Geronimo the alpaca
after he twice tested positive for tuberculosis.
Frost also remains as EU Relations Minister and Cabinet Office Minister as he grapples with the Brussels leviathan of the European Union over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The Moggfather continues the trend of the reshuffle that wasn't, keeping his job as Leader of the House of Commons. That should delight the keen aficionado of British constitutional law process.
Braverman, just returned from maternity leave, is back as Attorney-General. Braverman is the third Afro-Asian Cabinet member after Priti Patel and Rishi Sunak.
The North West Hampshire MP will likewise stay as joint Minister of State at the Home Office and Justice Ministry, and will attend Cabinet meetings. Malthouse was Johnson's deputy as mayor of London, and made his own bid for leadership of the party in 2019.
The former local government minister, who has only sat as MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland since 2017, has been promoted from the back benches to Cabinet level as Chief Treasury Secretary.
The Minister of State for Education will continue to attend Cabinet meetings.
The junior minister for Asia becomes a Minister without Portfolio in the Cabinet Office.
Secretaries for the Nations
Alistair Jack, Simon Hart and Brandon Lewis stay on as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland secretaries respectively.
Baroness Natalie Evans stays as Tory leader in 'The Other Place'.