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Boris Johnson reshapes Cabinet with Brexiteers in and detractors out

It is understood the new PM sacked Liam Fox as international trade secretary and Penny Mordaunt as defence secretary.

Jeremy Hunt has been forced out by Boris Johnson as the new PM reshaped the Cabinet (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Jeremy Hunt has been forced out by Boris Johnson as the new PM reshaped the Cabinet (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Boris Johnson has commenced a full-scale reshaping of Theresa May’s government on his first day as Prime Minister.

The freshly-anointed PM sacked detractors, squeezed out leadership rival Jeremy Hunt and brought in a team of prominent Brexiteers.

Along with resignations, it means more than half of his predecessor’s cabinet are no longer in their roles.

Mr Johnson’s Cabinet includes Sajid Javid as Chancellor and Priti Patel as Home Secretary among an array of prominent Brexiteers to receive top jobs.

Dominic Raab is Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State – effectively making him Mr Johnson’s deputy prime minister.

In possibly the most dramatic appointment of the evening, arch Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, who proved such a thorn in the side of Mrs May, was made Leader of the Commons.

Unusually, Downing Street said that he would not be a full member of the Cabinet, although he will attend Cabinet meetings.

Mr Hunt was forced from his role as foreign secretary and his supporters were rounded on by the new Tory leader.

Mr Johnson sacked Liam Fox as international trade secretary and Penny Mordaunt as defence secretary, PA understands.

Both had backed Mr Hunt, while Dr Fox had gone a step further in criticising Mr Johnson’s Brexit plan.

Scottish secretary David Mundell, who previously said he would find it “extremely difficult” to serve under Mr Johnson, tweeted he is “disappointed but not surprised” to be departing.

Also leaving the frontbenches after Mr Johnson was formally appointed as PM by the Queen were Hunt-backer Damian Hinds, who was education secretary, and business secretary Greg Clark.

Mr Clark had recently warned “many thousands” of jobs would be lost in a no-deal Brexit, which Mr Johnson has declined to rule out.

The new Cabinet sees Michael Gove, Mr Johnson’s Vote Leave colleague who scuppered his last leadership bid, moved to become the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and replaced as Environment Secretary by fellow Brexiteer Theresa Villiers.

Gavin Williamson becomes Education Secretary, less than three months after he was sacked from defence over suspicions he leaked details of Huawei discussions from the National Security Council.

Andrea Leadsom becomes Business Secretary, Ben Wallace Defence Secretary, Liz Truss International Trade Secretary to the Treasury and Robert Jenrick is Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Grant Shapps becomes Transport Secretary, having helped organise Mr Johnson’s campaign.

Stephen Barclay, Matt Hancock and Amber Rudd keep their jobs as Brexit Secretary, Health Secretary and Work and Pensions Secretary respectively.

Former chief whip Julian Smith has been appointed Northern Ireland Secretary, Alister Jack becomes Scottish Secretary and Alun Cairns will remain Welsh Secretary.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park will remain Leader of the House of Lords.

James Cleverly becomes the Conservative Party chair while rising star Rishi Sunak enters the Cabinet as Treasury Chief Secretary.

With the appointment of prominent Brexit-backers Mr Raab, Ms Patel and Mr Javid, it means three of the four great offices of state are now held by children of immigrants.

But it is not just Brexit campaigners who have won promotions, with Robert Buckland QC appointed Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, and Nicky Morgan becoming Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

In other moves, Mr Johnson brought his brother Jo – who campaigned for Remain – back into the Government as Minister at the Business Department and at the Department for Education, attending Cabinet.

Tory Party chairman Brandon Lewis was demoted to Home Office Minister, while Esther McVey returns as a minister in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Oliver Dowden meanwhile becomes Paymaster General and Cabinet Office Minister. All three will also attend Cabinet.

Labour warned of an influx of “hardline conservatives” and its deputy leader Tom Watson said the “huge cull” would lead to the “early collapse” of the Government, bringing forward a general election.

The SNP said the “Cabinet from hell” is shaping up to be the “worst since Thatcher”.

Mr Javid and Mr Raab were both contenders in the Tory leadership race, but both were knocked out during voting by Tory MPs.

Mr Raab quit as Mrs May’s Brexit secretary in November over her departure deal, while Mr Javid’s new role is a promotion from home secretary.

Ms Patel’s promotion saw her elevated again from the backbenches, having been forced by Mrs May to resign as international development secretary over unauthorised contacts with Israeli officials.

Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley is also understood to have been sacked after Mr Johnson entered No 10.

Ahead of his arrival, prominent no-deal critics chancellor Philip Hammond, international development secretary Rory Stewart and justice secretary David Gauke all quit.

So did David Lidington, who was effectively Mrs May’s deputy prime minister.

Mr Hunt said he would have been “honoured” to continue at the Foreign Office but decided to return to the backbenches despite Mr Johnson having “kindly offered” him a different role.

He was forced out despite saying he would happily welcome his opponent to his Cabinet during the leadership race.

Ms Mordaunt’s sacking so shortly after the Brexiteer became the first woman to head the Ministry of Defence came as a shock for many.

Also among the departees were secretary of state for housing, communities and local government James Brokenshire, culture secretary Jeremy Wright, leader of the house Mel Stride and immigration minister Caroline Nokes.

Much-criticised transport secretary Chris Grayling is understood to have resigned.

Vote Leave campaign mastermind Dominic Cummings will take up an advisory role.

The appointment of the abrasive former campaign director is controversial given he was found to be in contempt of Parliament earlier this year for refusing to give evidence to MPs investigating misinformation.

PA

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