Government Reshuffle September 2021
16th September 2021, 1:58 pm
The Prime Minister giveth, and the Prime Minister taketh away
The nervous wait by the phone. The jumpy conversations with special advisers. The jostling for the media spotlight. No matter their self-confidence or political reputation, most Ministers will have set off on this well-trodden path earlier today, with some still waiting to know their fate. In the first reshuffle since the pandemic began, the Prime Minister has taken the opportunity to cast aside those who failed to make the grade over the past 18 months, and reorganise his Cabinet just over two weeks out from Party Conference.
It was only ever a question of when. Rumors have been circling around the Westminster bubble for months that Boris Johnson would re-energise his ministerial team and recruit new blood to tackle the challenges that are facing post-pandemic Britain. Number 10 is desperate to restore public confidence in the government following countless policy U-turns, belligerent backbenchers, and a very public resignation from Matt Hancock. Gavin Williamson’s sacking as Education Secretary kicked off proceedings – ongoing issues plaguing the department over schools reopening and exam results meant that his departure was no great surprise. Nadhim Zahawi has been rewarded for his role overseeing the vaccine rollout, taking up the post and securing his place in the Cabinet.
Just over a month from making headlines for being on a sun-lounger in Crete while Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was the major political casualty of the day following a lengthy conversation with the PM – he replaces Robert Buckland as the new Justice Secretary while also taking on the role of Deputy Prime Minister. Former International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has been promoted to Foreign Secretary, following an impressive display at the Department for International Trade. Johnson will be hoping that her knowledge of forging new trading relationships makes Truss the prefect salesperson for Global Britain.
Given the government’s difficulty in selling its flagship Planning Bill to its own backbenchers, Robert Jenrick’s tenure as Housing and Communities Secretary ended abruptly – with former Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove now taking over at MHCLG, while also retaining his responsibility for protecting the Union. A veteran around the Cabinet table, Johnson is fully aware of Gove’s ability to reach out to all sides of the party and steer through tricky pieces of legislation and will be counting on his onetime leadership rival to not only see off threats of Scottish independence, but get the biggest shake up of planning regulations in a generation across the finish line.
Elsewhere, Nadine Dorries was confirmed as the new DCMS Secretary, taking over from Oliver Dowden who becomes Conservative Party Chair and Minister without Portfolio. She inherits a busy diary in the run up to the introduction of the Online Safety Bill and the establishment of a new data protection regime. A number of heavy hitters also managed to make it through the day unscathed – with the Budget in sight, Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s stay in Number 11 continues, as does Priti Patel’s spell at the Home Office. Kwasi Kwarteng holds on to his position as Business Secretary, while Ben Wallace remains at Defence.
As the dust settles and the chaos of moving day draws to a close, attention will soon swing back to the policy agenda and business of governing in a post pandemic world. It is no secret that the government has struggled to press forward with its legislative objectives, frustrated by the unpredictable nature of pandemic era politics. Number 10 will want to look back on today as being the moment when crisis management governance came to an end.
Westminster politics is the show that never ends – those who have emerged today a little higher up the pecking order will know that the stage is constantly set for their demise – while those sent packing will be hoping this doesn’t mark the end of their political careers, rather a brief spell waiting in the wings.
We are expecting the Government to release a full list of new junior Ministers and departmental responsibilities later this week, in the meantime the new Cabinet level positions have been announced and are included below.
Information correct as of 18:30 GMT 15/9/21
• Anne-Marie Trevelyan has been appointed Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade.
• Stephen Barclay has been appointed Chancellor of the Dutchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office
• Nadhim Zahawi has been appointed as Secretary of State for Education
• Nadine Dorries has been appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
• Oliver Dowden has been appointed Minister without Portfolio (Conservative Party Chair)
• Michael Gove has been appointed Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government
• Liz Truss has been appointed Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs
• Dominic Raab has been appointed Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for
Confirmed as staying in post
• Alok Sharma remains COP26 President
• Sajid Javid remains Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
• Kwasi Kwarteng remains Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
• Ben Wallace remains as Secretary of State for Defence
• Mark Spencer remains as Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Chief Whip)
• Priti Patel remains as Home Secretary
• Rishi Sunak remains as Chancellor of the Exchequer
• Therese Coffey remains as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
• Grant Shapps remains as Secretary of State of Transport
• Brandon Lewis remains as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
• Simon Hart remains as Secretary of State for Wales
• Alistair Jack remains as Secretary of State for Scotland
• George Eustice remains as Secretary of State for the Environment
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