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Boris Johnson sacked another six ministers outright on Thursday, as he continued to wield the axe in his wide-reaching reshuffle.
The Prime Minister’s purge reached the middle ranks of his Government, with Nick Gibb, the Schools Minister, fired after a six-year stint in the role.
Other high-profile figures to be sent back to the backbenches included John Whittingdale, who had served as a culture minister, and Jesse Norman, who had been financial secretary to the Treasury.
Caroline Dinenage was also sacked from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which has undergone a stark transformation this reshuffle, after Mr Johnson appointed backbencher Nadine Dorries to its helm.
Luke Hall, the Regional Growth Minister, and Justin Tomlinson, the Minister for Disabled People, were also dismissed outright.
The clear-out left an opening for a spate of promotions, with high-performing women among the key beneficiaries.
Two female rising stars were appointed to the Treasury. Lucy Frazer QC, previously prisons minister, became Financial Secretary, while Helen Whately, the former social care minister, was made Exchequer Secretary.
Victoria Atkins was promoted from the Home Office to Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice and will remain in charge of the Afghan resettlement scheme and Operation Warm Welcome.
The Department of Health and Social Care gained two new female ministers: Gillian Keegan became a Minister of State and Maggie Throup moved up to a junior frontbench role.
Amanda Solloway became the sixth woman to be appointed to the Government on Thursday, becoming a whip.
At the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Michael Gove gained an ally in the form of policy supremo Neil O’Brien, who was made a junior minister.
It came after Mr O’Brien was drafted into Number 10 earlier this year as an adviser to the Prime Minister on his flagship “levelling up” reforms. The Harborough MP, who arrived in the Commons in 2017, was said to work closely with Mr Gove in that role.
Both men are linked to the Policy Exchange think tank and are often credited for their blue-sky approach to solving policy problems.
Conor Burns, a close political ally of Mr Johnson’s, also returned to the Government following his resignation as a trade minister last year after a report found he used his position as an MP to intimidate a member of the public. He was appointed to the Northern Ireland Office.
Parliamentary private secretaries, which are unpaid roles, will be announced on Friday. Tory MPs among the 2019 intake are expected to be appointed, gaining their first foothold on the steep ladder of government.