Boris Johnson forges ahead with Cabinet reshuffle: Who are the new ministers?

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In he goes: Kit Malthouse is the new Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster - REUTERS
In he goes: Kit Malthouse is the new Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster - REUTERS

Boris Johnson has appointed a clutch of new ministers to fill the gaping holes in his Cabinet, despite having already announced his intention to step down as Tory leader.

The Prime Minister is forging ahead with an extraordinary reshuffle, promoting junior ministers and backbenchers to his top team in a bid to steady the governmental ship.

He is planning to stay on as a caretaker until October, with allies saying the country needs continuity of leadership given the cost of living crisis and war in Ukraine.

But many backbenchers and some of his own ministers want to see Mr Johnson quit immediately, paving the way for Dominic Raab, his deputy, to step into the breach.

The party’s 1922 Committee, led by Sir Graham Brady, has to agree to any timetable for the Prime Minister’s departure and could move to oust him altogether.

That means the newest members of the Cabinet face the most uncertain of futures. They could hold their frontbench roles for months or merely a matter of hours.

Greg Clark - Levelling Up Secretary

A lot can change in two days
A lot can change in two days

Mr Johnson sent shockwaves through Westminster when he sensationally sacked arch-rival Michael Gove from the job of Levelling Up Secretary on Wednesday night.

The Prime Minister was enraged after his one-time close ally personally told him it was time to go, with No 10 officials branding him a “snake” in a vicious parting shot.

Mr Clark was previously communities and local government secretary, which now forms part of his wider department, and is also a former business secretary.

In 2005, he was elected as MP for Tunbridge Wells, entering David Cameron’s shadow cabinet three years later then serving on the frontbench in the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition.

He had the Conservative whip suspended by Mr Johnson in September 2019 after voting with other rebels to give Parliament the power to block a no-deal Brexit.

James Cleverly - Education Secretary

Mr Cleverly will replace short-lived predecessor Michelle Donelan, who was Education Secretary for just 35 hours before resigning.

He will have to immediately get to grips with a department that has no junior ministers and needs to oversee this summer’s A-Level and GCSE exams.

James Cleverly MP arrives at the back entrance to Downing Street with a box of Doughnuts - Ian Vogler
James Cleverly MP arrives at the back entrance to Downing Street with a box of Doughnuts - Ian Vogler

The former Army officer was a Foreign Office minister and before that Tory chairman, and has been a staunch supporter of the Prime Minister.

He previously worked for the PM when he was Mayor of London as his youth ambassador, and is a committed Brexiteer.

Mr Cleverly initially announced his intention to run in the 2019 leadership race but then dropped out and gave his backing to Mr Johnson.

Robert Buckland - Welsh Secretary

A former justice secretary and solicitor general, Mr Buckland was surprisingly sacked by the Prime Minister in last September’s reshuffle.

The move ruffled feathers among Tory MPs who saw the Welshman as one of the most competent members of the Cabinet who had done nothing wrong.

Since then he has been a tempered critic of Mr Johnson, in particular over his response to the partygate scandal and on standards in public life.

He replaces former Welsh secretary Simon Hart, who quit late on Wednesday night as part of a concerted push to get the PM to tender his resignation.

Kit Malthouse - Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

Moments before his appointment, Mr Malthouse appeared at a brief Commons committee hearing about a change of name for his local police force in Hampshire.

The policing minister, who already attended the PM’s Cabinet, will take over the key role as his chief of staff over the course of the summer.

It was vacated by Steve Barclay after he had to be moved to Health Secretary following the shock resignation of Sajid Javid at the start of the coup.

Mr Malthouse served as deputy mayor of London for policing under Mr Johnson before being elected to parliament as MP for North West Hampshire in 2015.

He is known for his attempts to broker a deal between the two rival Brexit camps under Theresa May, presenting his “Malthouse Compromise” proposal for a deal.

Shailesh Vara - Northern Ireland Secretary

Mr Vara has been appointed after the departure of Brandon Lewis early on Thursday morning left the province without any form of political hand on the tiller.

A long-serving MP, he has previously held a succession of junior ministerial jobs, most recently as Northern Ireland minister which he left in 2018.

In both the 2016 and 2019 Tory leadership contests he backed Mr Johnson’s rivals – voicing support for Michael Gove and then Dominic Raab.

Andrew Stephenson - Minister without Portfolio

Mr Stephenson has been promoted from his role as a transport minister to bolster the thinned ranks in the PM’s Cabinet.

He has held a number of junior government positions since being elected to Pendle in Lancashire back in 2010, including a stint in the whips’ office.

As a minister without portfolio he will have no specific brief at Cabinet, but will instead attend meetings and contribute to wider discussions about policy direction.

Mr Stephenson said he had decided to take up the role so he can help “ensure a smooth transition” to the next prime minister.

Johnny Mercer - Minister of State (Minister for Veterans’ Affairs) at the Cabinet Office

Mr Mercer gets his old job back as he becomes the veterans minister.

The MP for Plymouth Moor View was sacked by text message in April 2021 after he accused Boris Johnson of lacking the “moral strength and courage” to protect ex-soldiers from prosecution in Northern Ireland.

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