Departing Boris Johnson carries out reshuffle after mass resignations

<span>Photograph: James Manning/PA</span>
Photograph: James Manning/PA

Boris Johnson has carried out a cabinet reshuffle, begun shortly before he announced his resignation after a mass walkout of ministers made his position untenable.

The former business secretary Greg Clark will be the new levelling up secretary, and James Cleverly will take over as education secretary, Johnson announced as he began trying to fill posts vacated in the past 72 hours.

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Michele Donelan had resigned as education secretary on Thursday morning, withdrawing her support for the prime minister after little more than a day in the post.

Kit Malthouse, a longtime Johnson loyalist, will be the new chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, Shailesh Vara the Northern Ireland secretary and Robert Buckland the Welsh secretary.

Clark, the new levelling up secretary, was one of the Tory MPs stripped of the whip by Johnson in 2019 for trying to prevent a no-deal Brexit. He replaces Michael Gove, who was sacked by Johnson late on Wednesday evening.

Johnson intends to remain in No 10 while a leadership contest takes place, in a timetable agreed with the chair of the backbench 1922 Committee, Graham Brady.

Ministers sought to reassure MPs that the UK still has a functioning government despite more than 50 resignations. “We’re getting on with the business of government, calmly,” said the leader of the House of Commons, Mark Spencer.

Johnson’s departure was triggered by the revelation that he knew about the alleged past transgressions of the Tamworth MP, Chris Pincher, before appointing him to the role of deputy chief whip.