Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in July last year and led the Conservative Party to a comprehensive victory in December’s General Election. He postponed a Cabinet reshuffle until after Britain left the European Union on 31 January.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, has quit as Boris Johnson reshuffles his Cabinet.
Javid resigned on Thursday, 13 February, after the Prime Minister asked him to sack all his advisers. He is the first Chancellor to leave before presenting a Budget since Lord Randolph Churchill in 1886.
Javid has been replaced by Rishi Sunak, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who has been promoted.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell: “This must be a historical record with the government in crisis after just over two months in power. Dominic Cummings has clearly won the battle to take absolute control of the Treasury and install his stooge as Chancellor.” #reshuffle
— Chris Mason (@ChrisMasonBBC) February 13, 2020
Javid’s departure follows months of tension between the Chancellor and Johnson’s special adviser, Dominic Cummings.
In August last year one of Javid’s advisers, Sonia Khan, was escorted from Downing Street by police after her security clearance was withdrawn.
The Force is strong in young Sunak. https://t.co/96x4zZ2DxI
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) December 20, 2019
Javid – who ran for the leadership of the party last year – reportedly “voiced his anger” to Boris Johnson about the manner of her departure.
The Chancellor’s departure even caught the Leader of the Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, on the hop.
During business questions in Parliament Labour MP Jeff Smith asked him: “Can we have a statement on the surprising news that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been sacked?”
Rees-Mogg was clearly unaware Javid had resigned and replied: “The honourable gentleman is ahead of me on the news cycle.”
Rishi Sunak is the new chancellor
There will be a joint No10/No11 spad team to deliver on the Government’s priorities
Absolutely seismic stuff
— Steven Swinford (@Steven_Swinford) February 13, 2020
Sunak told reporters outside the Treasury he was “delighted” to be appointed Chancellor but declined to reply when a journalist asked him if he would be the prime minister’s “puppet”.
Boris Johnson has also fired Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith only five weeks after he helped broker the return of power-sharing at Stormont.
Rishi Sunak set to be appointed Chancellor with one special adviser team across No 10 and No 11. Sajid Javid refused to sack his advisers, hence he’s resigned. Big moment / mishap in this #reshuffle
— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) February 13, 2020
Smith’s departure has been greeted with bemusement in Northern Ireland, where he was seen as a safe pair of hands who had got to know his brief well.
BREAKING: Sajid Javid has quit as Chancellor.
Suggestion is that Boris Johnson asked him to sack all his advisors – but he refused.
Dominic Cummings has had Treasury aides in his sights since the start.
— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) February 13, 2020
Who else was sacked?
Johnson has also fired Andrea Leadsom, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, hours after she had expressed her disappointment at the Prime Minister’s decision to go ahead with HS2, which runs straight through her Northamptonshire constituency.
Leadsom has been replaced by Alok Sharma, who will also be the minister in charge of the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow later this year.
Sharma had previously been International Development Secretary and that role has gone to Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who has been promoted from being a junior armed forces minister.
There had been rumours Dominic Cummings wanted the prime minister to scrap the Department for International Development – which hands out foreign aid – and merge it with the Foreign Office.
Serving the people of Northern Ireland has been the biggest privilege. I am extremely grateful to @BorisJohnson for giving me the chance to serve this amazing part of our country. The warmth & support from people across NI has been incredible. Thank you so much.
— Julian Smith MP (@JulianSmithUK) February 13, 2020
Esther McVey has also lost her job as Housing Secretary.
Both Leadsom and McVey were one time contenders for the leadership of the party and Johnson may have wanted to clip their wings.
It has been a real privilege to serve in Government for the last six years, and in @beisgovuk for six months. I now look forward to focusing on my constituents and on my 20+ year campaign to see every baby get the best start in life. (1/)
— Andrea Leadsom MP (@andrealeadsom) February 13, 2020
Theresa Villiers has also been sacked as Environment Secretary, only a month after she said the “legal barriers to the import” of chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected beef from the US would “stay in place” post-Brexit.
The Prime Minister is keen to push through a free trade deal with the US and Villiers is expected to be replaced by a more flexible and loyal minister.
New Attorney General Suella Braverman arguing (dangerously) that “we” need to take back control from Judges
Our Unwritten Constitution
Separation of Powers
Parliament makes law
Judges interpret it
Magna Carta – did she die in vain?https://t.co/VDxlzcjrOL
— nazir afzal (@nazirafzal) February 13, 2020
Also on their way out is Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General whose advice to Theresa May was crucial during her failed Brexit process.
He has been replaced by Suella Braverman, another Johnson loyalist and hard Brexiteer.
Nicky Morgan – who stepped down as an MP at the election – has given up her job as Culture Secretary. There was controversy in December when Johnson gave her a peerage in order for her to stay on in the Cabinet.
Baroness Morgan has been replaced by Oliver Dowden, who used to work in PR before entering Parliament.
Reshuffle summary. Was billed as moderate reshuffle and seems it is. Sackings so far (PM now back in No 10)
Julian Smith (NI)
Andrea Leadsom (BEIS)
Theresa Villiers (Defra)
Geoffrey Cox (AG)
Nus Ghani (transport)
Morgan leaving (Culture)
— Beth Rigby (@BethRigby) February 13, 2020
The reshuffle is expected to be based on the recommendations of Johnson’s senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, but the Prime Minister is not thought to be planning to abolish or merge any ministries as he has reportedly been urged to by Cummings.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Home Secretary Priti Patel and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace are all expected to retain their posts and their may be a new job for Stephen Barclay, the outgoing Brexit Secretary.
24 hours after saying there should be no “headlong rush” or “impetuous” decisions about curtailing the “judicialisation” of politics Geoffrey Cox QC has been sacked as Attorney General (“requested” to resign). Is he not radical enough for Downing Street? pic.twitter.com/izYWTytkJp
— Danny Shaw (@DannyShawBBC) February 13, 2020
Three junior ministers have also lost their jobs – Nusrat Ghani and George Freeman in the Department of Transport and Chris Skidmore in the Department for Education.
This reshuffle shows that dissent will not be tolerated by No10.
Leadsom, Smith, Cox, had all stood up to Boris during Cabinet meetings, all now gone. Others, like Villiers and Skidmore, sacked for lack of dynamism.
— Gordon Rayner (@gordonrayner) February 13, 2020
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