A Cabinet Reshuffle – Only Slightly

14 February 2020, Blog

The Prime Minister’s Cabinet reshuffle yesterday was predicted to cause a shakeup; and it did, to an extent.

Taking a different approach, the Prime Minster (PM) used his House of Commons office to inform ministers that they would no longer be in his Cabinet. This was to prevent the somewhat embarrassing walk to Number 10 Downing Street as a Secretary of State or Minister, to then reemerge only as a backbencher.

It was largely expected that the top tier of the ‘big offices of state’ would remain the same and that the mid-tier would see some changes. However, things changed when Sajid Javid, the Chancellor of the Exchequer resigned. This came as an enormous shock to the journalists parked outside that famous black door.

Javid’s resignation is controversial, with many asking: ‘Was this intentional?’ According to journalist’s sources, it seems so.

Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s Chief of Staff, is alleged to have wanted a more ‘joined-up’ approach between Number 10 and Number 11 (the Chancellor’s office). Mr Javid was initially offered to keep his position as Chancellor of the Exchequer subject to one condition – he would sack all of his advisers.

In the subsequent interviews, Javid said that “no self-respecting minister would accept those conditions”, and so felt that he had no other choice but to leave Government. The move to sack Javid’s advisers had been previously reported in the media, with frictions emerging between Cummings and the Chancellor.

Replacing Javid is the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rishi Sunak – a rising star in Westminster, having only been elected since 2015. He replaced the former MP William Hague (Lord Hague of Richmond) as MP for Richmond (Yorks).

Sunak, 39, is an Oxford University graduate in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and went on to work for Goldman Sachs as an analysis, before co-founding a new hedge fund. His father was a GP and his mother a Pharmacist. He is the 42nd Chancellor and will give the Budget next month.
From now on there will be a new ‘joint’ team of advisers operating for both Number 10 and 11.

Other notable moves include:

  • The appointment of Alok Sharma MP as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Minister for COP26. He replaces Andrea Leadsom MP.
  • The appointment of Oliver Dowden MP as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. He replaces Baroness Nicky Morgan.
  • The appointment of George Eustice as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He replaces Theresa Villiers MP.
  • The appointment of Suella Braverman MP as Attorney General. She replaces Geoffrey Cox MP.
  • The appointment of Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP as Secretary of State for International Development. She replaces Alok Sharma MP.
  • The appointment of Brandon Lewis MP as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. He replaces Julian Smith MP.
  • The appointment of Amanda Milling MP as Conservative Party Chairman. She replaces James Cleverly MP.

JBP has summarised the full Cabinet Reshuffle so you don’t have to. Take a look at our department breakdown of the Government and the Official Opposition here.

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