Boris Johnson's cabinet filled with ‘lightweights’ says Farage
The Prime Minister was understood to be keen not to make any major changes to his top team while the UK was locked in negotiations with the EU and also battling with the coronavirus pandemic. But with Brexit now out of the way, Mr Johnson is thought to be considering having a spring clean and freshening up his Cabinet.
Today the Prime Minister announced Alok Sharma was being removed as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to help him focus on his new role as President of the UN COP26 climate conference.
The move is the firing gun for what could be a larger reshuffle in the weeks ahead.
Without a doubt, some Ministers have shone since Mr Johnson last reshuffled his team on February 13 last year.
The decision to appoint Rishi Sunak as Chancellor, the second youngest Chancellor in the UK’s history, has paid off with the man in the Treasury becoming popular with voters across the country for his response to coronavirus.
Michael Gove too has had a good year, becoming one of the most important people in Government to deliver on the Prime Minister’s priorities behind the scenes. He’s been in charge of no deal Brexit preparations, chairing the daily coronavirus committee, and overseeing civil service reform.
However, some at the top table have not performed so well, causing headaches and bad publicity for the Prime Minister. Express.co.uk has been taking a look at the Tories most likely to be moved from their current roles in any upcoming reshuffle.
Priti Patel – Home Secretary
The Home Secretary has had her fair share of controversy over the past year.
Last February Home Office Permanent Secretary Sir Philip Rutnam quit his role and started legal proceedings against the Government, accusing Ms Patel of bullying.
An independent investigation was launched to determine if the Home Secretary had broken the ministerial code, which says “harassing, bullying or other inappropriate or discriminating behaviour” is unacceptable.
The report’s author, Sir Alex Allen, said Ms Patel had broken the code but the Tory MP was not forced to quit her job after the Prime Minister overruled the decision.
The move has sparked anger among civil servants.
Given the amount of political capital the Prime Minister has used up standing by Ms Patel she is unlikely to bereaved from the top table, but she could be moved out of her current role to help calm civil servants in the Home Office.
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Gavin Williamson – Education Secretary
Mr Williamson’s handing of schooling in the face of the pandemic has sparked plenty of outrage.
Boris Johnson was forced to apologise for a “mutant algorithm” after an onslaught of criticism last August for the country’s A-level and GCSE exam results fiasco.
Mr Williamson had to make an embarrassing U-turn after the system used to grade pupils in the absence of exams due to the coronavirus pandemic was accused of being unfit for purpose.
He has once again faced criticism this week over the Government’s handling of the re-opening of schools after the Christmas holidays.
Mr Williamson insisted schools in England would remain open in the face of union opposition, only for their indefinite closure to be announced after the first day of term when the country entered its third national lockdown.
With the South Staffordshire MP unpopular with teachers, students, parents and trade unions alike, no one would be surprised if he was removed from his brief.
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Dominic Raab – Foreign Secretary
The Esher and Walton MP raised eyebrows in November when he refused to criticise President Trump for making accusations of voter fraud in the US election and did not immediately recognise Joe Biden as the winner.
The move is unlikely to have gone down well with the incoming President at a time when the UK is hoping to secure a trade deal with the US.
He also caused outrage among some at home when he suggested Black Lives Matters protests “taking the knee” was a symbol from the fantasy TV drama Game of Thrones.
However, he also rose to the challenge of becoming acting Prime Minister last spring when Mr Johnson was admitted to hospital with coronavirus.
Calmly taking charge of the country at a point when the Prime Minister, his top aide, and the head the civil service were all ill with a deadly virus is bound to have learnt him plenty of brownie points.
While he may be moved from his current brief, he is likely to be rewarded with another large Office of State.
Robert Jenrick – Local Communities Secretary
Controversy surrounded Robert Jenrick for his role in the approval of a £1billion property development proposed by Conservative Party donor Richard Desmond.
Mr Jenrick’s department approved the development a day before new infrastructure rules came into force which would have meant Mr Desmond paying an extra £30-£50million to the local council.
The fast-tracked decision was made after the pair discussed the development at a dinner.
Mr Jenrick has always denied any wrongdoing but the scandal led to calls for the Minister to resign and a barrage of negative media.
Not a big wig in the party, if Mr Johnson chose to move Mr Jenrick on he would unlikely be missed.
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