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Cabinet reshuffle - live: Boris Johnson replaces Raab with Truss, moves Gove to housing and ousts Williamson

·41-min read
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Liz Truss has been appointed foreign secretary replacing Dominic Raab who was demoted to justice secretary in the prime minister’s cabinet shuffle. Mr Raab also holds the roles of Lord Chancellor and deputy prime minister.

Michael Gove has been appointed secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, replacing Robert Jenrick who was ousted earlier this afternoon. He will also retain responsibility for relations with the UK’s devolved administrations.

Gavin Williamson was removed from his role as education secretary, and Robert Buckland was also removed from his posting as justice secretary.

The government hopes to complete cabinet-level appointments today, with more junior posts to be announced in the coming days.

A Downing Street source said: “The prime minister will today conduct a reshuffle to put in place a strong and united team to build back better from the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has refused to explain how universal credit claimants would be able to recoup their looming £20-a-week cut in payments.

The prime minister was challenged to set out how many hours of extra work will be needed – after a Cabinet minister wrongly claimed it is just two.

But Mr Johnson declined to say whether the true figure is higher or lower.

Read More

Brexit: Government again delays key border checks on EU imports

Tunnel vision: Another grand Boris Johnson-inspired plan on the scrapheap

Revealed: Michael Gove’s sexist jibes, racist jokes and homophobic slurs

Key Points

  • Government delays key border checks on EU imports

  • Labour urges Tory MPs to oppose universal credit cut

  • Inflation soars to highest since 2012

  • Keir Starmer kicks off PMQs with universal credit grilling

  • Boris Johnson poised to wield axe on cabinet under-performers in reshuffle

  • Johnson refuses to explain how universal credit claimants can make up lost £20-a-week

  • Gavin Williamson removed as education secretary in cabinet reshuffle

  • Robert Jenrick removed as housing secretary in cabinet reshuffle

07:50 , Tom Batchelor

Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of UK political news.

Government again delays key border checks on EU imports

07:53 , Tom Batchelor

The government has announced that it will delay a host of border red tape for EU imports from October and January next year until July 2022.

These include physical checks on food and other animal-related products which were due in January next year. It comes after The Independent reported that the necessary infrastructure would not be ready in time.

As late as Thursday last week, the government was suggesting that businesses should still prepare for the already delayed deadlines for new paperwork from October and physical checks in January.

Here is the story:

Government delays key Brexit border checks

Labour urges Tory MPs to oppose Universal Credit cut

08:10 , Tom Batchelor

Labour is to call on Tory MPs to back a vote calling for the government to scrap its plans to cut Universal Credit during an opposition day debate on Wednesday.

Ministers have come under sustained pressure to reverse its decision to end the £20 uplift introduced to support families during the coronavirus pandemic.

Here is more:

Labour challenges Tory MPs to ‘do the right thing’ and oppose Universal Credit cut

Lords criticised for inviting ‘fringe’ climate denial group to give evidence in parliament

08:29 , Tom Batchelor

A House of Lords committee has been criticised for inviting a “fringe” group which campaigns against climate action to give evidence on carbon policy.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation was invited by peers to give evidence to an inquiry on reaching net zero and appeared before them on Tuesday.

But environmental groups questioned why the committee would “waste their valuable time” hearing from the organisation, which they said had been “so widely and repeatedly found to be wrong”.

Read more here:

Lords criticised for inviting ‘fringe’ climate denial group to parliament

Inflation soars to highest since 2012

08:45 , Tom Batchelor

UK inflation has surged to its highest for nearly a decade after a record jump in August as restaurant and cafe prices raced higher following last summer’s discounts under the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation jumped from 2 per cent in July to 3.2 per cent in August, which is the highest since March 2012 and far above the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target.

The ONS said the increase - the largest since records began in 1997 - was due to the discounts seen across the hospitality sector last August under Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme to boost consumer spending and confidence after lockdown.

It added there was also likely to have been some impact from the supply chain crisis on inflation last month, which it said helped push up food and non-alcoholic drinks prices.

Tax rises and the overmighty state pave the way for Tory split

09:00 , Tom Batchelor

Like the Brexit deal, the decision to raise taxes was rushed through at the last minute.

But the repercussions of one of the biggest tax rises in history will take much longer to play out.

John Rentoul reports:

Tax rises and the overmighty state pave the way for Tory split

Former Isis-bride Shamima Begum offers to ‘help’ Boris Johnson

09:15 , Tom Batchelor

Former Isis-bride Shamima Begum has begged the British public for forgiveness, saying there is “no evidence” she was a key player in preparing terrorist acts.

The 22-year-old, who fled her east London home for Syria as a 15-year-old schoolgirl, said she wanted to be brought back to the UK and face terror charges in order to prove her innocence.

Asked for a message to Boris Johnson, Begum said that she could help the Prime Minister in “your fight against terrorism because you clearly don’t know what you’re doing”.

She told Good Morning Britain: “I want to say that you are clearly struggling with extremism and terrorism in your country. And I want to help with that with giving my own experience from with these extremists and what they say and how they persuade people to do what they do and to come to places like Syria.

“I think I could very much help you in your fight against terrorism, because you clearly don’t know what you’re doing.”

Javid defends decision to strip Begum of British citizenship

09:30 , Tom Batchelor

Sajid Javid has hit back at Shamima Begum’s claims that she played no part in Islamic State terrorism.

Referring to his decision while home secretary to strip Begum of her British citizenship, the health secretary said: “I won’t go into details of the case, but what I will say is that you certainly haven’t seen what I saw.”

He added: “If you did know what I knew, because you are sensible, responsible people, you would have made exactly the same decision - of that I have no doubt.”

Government hires JP Morgan to advise on potential sale of Channel 4

09:45 , Tom Batchelor

The government has hired US banking behemoth JP Morgan to advise on the future of Channel 4, as ministers consider putting the publicly-owned broadcaster up for sale.

A 10-week public consultation into the potential privatisation of Channel 4, ordered by culture secretary Oliver Dowden in June, came to a close on Tuesday night.

The Wall Street giant has been drafted in to provide corporate financial advice and analysis to ministers as they consider the responses, The Independent understands.

Read the full story here:

Government hires JP Morgan to advise on potential sale of Channel 4

Climate protesters block parts of M25

10:00 , Tom Batchelor

Climate protesters have blocked parts of the M25 for the second time in three days.

Insulate Britain, which is demanding government action on home insulation, has stopped traffic at several sections of Britain’s busiest motorway.

It wrote on Twitter: “#InsulateBritain are back. @BorisJohnson can you hear us yet?’’

Reshuffle rumours swirl in Westminster

10:15 , Tom Batchelor

Health secretary defends Tory MPs refusing to wear masks in parliament

10:30 , Tom Batchelor

The health secretary has defended Conservative MPs who refuse to wear masks in parliament, following criticism of his party’s lax attitude to the safety measure.

Speaking on Wednesday Sajid Javid said masks were just one of a “suite of measures” that could be taken to prevent illness and said many MPs were vaccinated or might be getting regularly tested as an alternative.

Here is the story:

Health Secretary defends Tory MPs refusing to wear masks in parliament

‘Frustration’ over threat/promise of reshuffle

10:44 , Tom Batchelor

Opinion | Boris Johnson’s biggest mistake? Propping up the NHS

10:59 , Tom Batchelor

What do Boris Johnson and the NHS have in common? That may seem like a heretical question given that Johnson is a Tory and in our great national love affair with the NHS, the Conservatives have often assumed the role of pantomime villain, lurking round the corners of hospital wings, card-reader in hand, waiting to swipe the whole thing from our grasp, writes Jordan Tyldesley.

But last week, Johnson clearly and unequivocally positioned himself as the long awaited pope of our unofficial national religion. Charges can be made about his character and supposed ineptitude, but the decision to appoint himself as the brave saviour of health and social care and purporting to tackle it “once and for all” is commendable. However, it is Johnson’s first and real mistake: the NHS is a sinking ship and as the captain, at some point, must go down with it.

Read the full opinion piece here:

Opinion: Boris Johnson’s biggest mistake? Propping up the NHS

China accuses UK of ‘ignoring international protocol’ after ambassador blocked from Parliament

11:23 , Tom Batchelor

China has warned politicians they risk making “things worse for themselves” if they continue “playing political tricks” after Beijing’s ambassador to the UK was blocked from Parliament.

The Commons and the Lords Speakers said Zheng Zeguang could not enter the estate for a reception scheduled for Wednesday while seven MPs and peers remained under sanctions from Beijing.

The parliamentarians - all vocal critics of China’s human rights abuses - welcomed the “strong principled stand” from the Speakers, but it angered Beijing and sparked a diplomatic row.

A statement from the Chinese embassy in London said blocking the ambassador from attending the Commons event arranged by a Tory MP was an act “disregarding the fundamental interest of the Chinese and British people” that was “ignoring international protocol”.

MPs back £12bn-a-year tax hike for NHS and social care

11:26 , Tom Batchelor

The £12bn-a-year tax hike to rescue the NHS and social care has been backed by MPs, but ministers were warned they would have to “relax all immigration requirements” to make the plan a reality.

In a highly unusual move, the health and social care levy cleared all its Commons stages in a single day, even though the national insurance rise will not kick in until next April.

Just six Conservative MPs opposed the legislation at its second reading, only one more than in the first vote on the motion last week – despite several voicing strong opposition.

Read the story here:

MPs back £12bn-a-year tax hike for NHS amid warning of doctor and nurse shortages

Brexit kosher food shortages ‘despicable'

11:54 , Tom Batchelor

The prospect of EU-UK trade differences causing a kosher food shortage in Northern Ireland is “despicable”, the Northern Ireland Secretary has said.

Brandon Lewis said the EU needed to “engage properly” with the UK’s position on trade to sort out “underlying problems” disrupting everyday life in the region.

Highlighting the risk that Belfast’s small Jewish community would be unable to import kosher food, Mr Lewis said: “To have the EU effectively saying to the Jewish community you can’t source your products in your own country is a pretty despicable place to be.

“And to not understand that an elderly, vulnerable community like that cannot travel 100 miles each way once a week to get their shopping, I think is pretty poor form. I find that disgraceful, to be frank.”

PMQs starting imminently

11:57 , Tom Batchelor

PMQs is set to get underway shortly.

It will be followed at 1pm by Opposition Day Debates on universal credit and a joint committee to investigate the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Keir Starmer starts PMQs with universal credit grilling

12:08 , Tom Batchelor

Boris Johnson has faced questions over the planned cut to universal credit.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer asked how many extra hours a single parent would have to work on the minimum wage to make up the difference from the planned cut of £20.

The prime mininster avoided answering the question and said wages were rising, while Labour wanted to “take money from taxation and put it into benefits”.

Sir Keir said a single parent would need to work over nine hours a week on top of their full time job to make up the difference.

“How on earth does the prime minister think they are going to find the time to work an extra nine hours every week?” he said.

Families will be hit 'hard, very hard’ by ‘broken tax system’, says Starmer

12:12 , Tom Batchelor

“Millions of working families will be hit hard, very hard” by government’s “broken tax system”, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

The Labour leader said the PM was “hammering” people with a universal credit cut and a tax increase.

Boris Johnson said he thought it was “utterly incredible” that Labour were not backing his planned tax rise to boost NHS and care funding.

Reshuffle ‘on’ today, No10 source says

12:19 , Tom Batchelor

Raab and Williamson most at risk in impending reshuffle, bookmaker suggests

12:21 , Tom Batchelor

Dominic Raab and Gavin Williamson are most at risk in the expected reshuffle, according to the Smarkets exchange.

Both are now odds-on to lose their jobs in this year.

Michael Gove and Liz Truss head the market to replace Mr Raab as foreign secretary at 45 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

Matthew Shaddick, head of political markets, said:“If the market is any guide, we are heading for a major cabinet shake up very soon. Whilst Dominic Raab and Gavin Williamson now look likely to be moved, there has also been money for Priti Patel, Robert Jenrick and Therese Coffey to be heading for the exit door first.

“With Raab likely to be moved from the Foreign Office, speculation around his successor is firmly centered around Michael Gove and Liz Truss. Despite some talk of Rishi Sunak being potentially reshuffled out of the Treasury, Smarkets latest odds suggest he’ll be staying put.”

Boris Johnson poised to wield axe on cabinet under-performers in reshuffle

12:25 , Tom Batchelor

Boris Johnson is poised to take the axe to his cabinet, as Downing Street sources confirmed he will conduct a reshuffle of ministers this afternoon.

Home secretary Priti Patel has been tipped by some in Westminster as a candidate for the chop, after her failure to stop the growing numbers of small boats bringing refugees across the Channel from France.

Here is the full story:

Boris Johnson poised to wield axe on cabinet under-performers in reshuffle

‘Crops are rotting in our fields and on our trees'

12:32 , Tom Batchelor

Tory MP Roger Gale has appealed to the prime minister to implement an emergency “Covid recovery visa” to solve acute labour shortages amid a warning that “crops are rotting in our fields and on our trees”.

Boris Johnson replied that he was “absolutely right” about the importance of “buying British and eating British” and admitted there were “problems” in the supply chain, but claimed it had been an issue for a “long time” and declined to commit to any loosening of migration rules.

Why does Boris Johnson have corn in his pocket?

12:36 , Tom Batchelor

Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer were among MPs seen sporting sheafs of wheat on their lapels at today’s PMQs.

The decorations are in aid of Back British Farming Day.

Back British Farming is the National Farming Union’s campaign aimed at driving support for the British food and farming sector through actions like buying British produce and enjoying the countryside responsibly.

Nadia Whittome challenges PM over sick pay

12:41 , Tom Batchelor

Nadia Whittome has appealed to the prime minister to commit to full sick pay at a “real living wage” rather than the current age-restricted wage.

Britain’s youngest MP returned to parliament this month following a three-month leave of absence where she was able to recover from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

However Boris Johnson failed to make a commitment on sick pay, saying only that those who gets Covid sick pay “gets it on day one”.

Johnson refuses to explain how universal credit claimants can make up lost £20-a-week

12:45 , Tom Batchelor

Boris Johnson has refused to explain how Universal Credit claimants should recoup their looming £20-a-week cut in payments, as he branded criticism of the move “absurd”.

In fierce clashes in the Commons, the prime minister was challenged to set out how many hours of extra work will be needed – after a Cabinet minister wrongly claimed it is just two.

Here is the story:

Boris Johnson won’t say how Universal Credit claimants can recoup lost £20-a-week

PM rejects plea for emergency work visas after crop warning

13:07 , Tom Batchelor

Boris Johnson has rejected a plea to introduce emergency work visas after a Conservative MP warned that “crops are rotting in the fields” of his constituency due to labour shortages.

Roger Gale, who represents Thanet, said producers in his local area have had to throw away vast quantities of produce because there are not enough people to pick it or transport it to market.

Businesses across the country have been hit hard by a shortage of workers since Britain left the EU’s single market and ended free movement at the start of the year.

Read the full story:

Tory MP warns Boris Johnson ‘crops are rotting in the fields’ due to labour shortage

Carrie Johnson not consulted on cabinet reshuffle

13:26 , Celine Wadhera

Carrie Johnson, the prime minister’s wife, did not provide input on the cabinet reshuffle, Downing Street has said.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said that while Mr Johnson “understood the importance of having a diverse cabinet” he would not guarantee that female representation around the table would be maintained at its current level following the reshuffle.

Despite being branded the “Carrie reshuffle” by Mr Johnson’s former aide Dominic Cummings, when asked whether Ms Johnson had been consulted, a Downing Street spokesman said: “No”.

Labour MP: universal credit cut is ‘quite simply wrong for Britain’

13:45 , Celine Wadhera

The universal credit cut is “quite simply wrong for Britain” a Labour MP has said during the Commons debate.

Labour MP Johnathan Reynolds from Stalybridge and Hyde urged members of the house to think about the wide-ranging effects of the decision at hand.

He said: “I implore members of this house to think about the wide-ranging effects of the decision.

“Charities say we will be cutting a lifeline to millions. Economists say we will be sucking spending from our local high streets. Even the government’s own internal analysis makes clear it will be catastrophic.

“No one in this house can say they didn’t know. No one will be able to say that they weren’t warned. The effects of this cut are clear as day.

“It is wrong for our constituents, wrong for the British economy, quite simply its wrong for Britain. Members opposite have a choice to make.

“I and the millions this cut will hit implore them, see sense, back the families who sent you here and cancel the cut.”

Gavin Williamson removed as education secretary in cabinet reshuffle

13:51 , Celine Wadhera

In the first big move in Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle, Gavin Williamson has been removed as education secretary.

Political editor Andrew Woodcock has more on the breaking story.

Gavin Williamson removed as education secretary

Gavin Williamson: ‘it has been a privilege to serve as Education Secretary’

13:59 , Celine Wadhera

The former education Secretary Gavin Williamson took to Twitter to announce his removal from his post.

He said: “It has been a privilege to serve as Education Secretary since 2019. Despite the challenges of the global pandemic, I’m particularly proud of the transformational reforms I’ve led in Post 16 education: in further education colleges, our Skills agenda, apprenticeships and more.

“This programme will create better life opportunities for pupils and students for many years to come. I look forward to continuing to support the Prime Minster and the government.”

Cut to universal credit could be avoided using ‘fiscal headroom the Chancellor already has’, says Labour

14:09 , Celine Wadhera

In the Commons debate, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, Jonathan Reynolds, said that a universal credit cut could be avoided by using “fiscal headroom the Chancellor already has”.

Mr Reynolds said: “This government is already a high-tax government. And due to that, and the decision to freezer personal allowances and hike council tax combined with the much lower Government borrowing costs than expected, the projections are already coming in for the October spending review suggesting there is far more room for manoeuvre than anyone previously thought.”

He added that borrowing is likely to come in several tens of billions of pounds lower than expected, “having already borrowed £26bn less than previously forecast for the first four months of 2021”.

“More importantly, if the Office for Budget Responsibility moves its forecast for the long-term scarring effect of the pandemic on the British economy, that’s currently 3 per cent of GDP, into line with the more optimistic consensus, the Bank of England now saying just 1 per cent, he will have a windfall that lasts possibly to the tune of £25 billion a year.”

He added: “The point remains, the decision to keep the level of universal credit and Working Tax credit at the level it is could be made within the fiscal headroom the chancellor already has when the spending review takes place.”

Robert Buckland removed as justice secretary in cabinet reshuffle

14:14 , Celine Wadhera

The second major move in the prime minister’s cabinet reshuffle is the removal of Robert Buckland as justice secretary.

Mr Buckland said on Twitter: “It has been an honour to serve in the Government for the last 7 years, and as the Lord Chancellor for the last 2.

“I am deeply proud of everything I have achieved. On to the next adventure.”

Why is Boris Johnson wearing a wheat sheaf on his lapel?

14:33 , Celine Wadhera

Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer were among the MPs seen wearing wheat sheafs on their lapels as they faced off in the Commons during PMQs earlier today.

The decorations demonstrate support for Back British Farming Day, which falls on 15 September this year. The event, organised by the National Farmers’ Union for England and Wales, is aimed at celebrating the British farming sector and to encourage politicians to ensure that the sector is prioritised in future trade deals.

My colleagues Andy Gregory and Zoe Tidman report.

Why is Boris Johnson wearing a wheat sheaf on his lapel?

Robert Jenrick has been removed as housing secretary

14:40 , Celine Wadhera

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has left the government as the latest casualty of Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle.

Political editor Andrew Woodcock reports.

Robert Jenrick sacked as housing secretary in Boris Johnson’s reshuffle

Robert Jenrick: ‘I’m deeply proud of all we achieved’

14:55 , Celine Wadhera

The outgoing housing secretary tweeted his thanks to everyone in his department, and committed to continue supporting the prime minister and government.

He said: “It’s been a huge privilege to serve as Secretary of State @mhclg. Thank you to everyone at the department for their hard work, dedication and friendship. I’m deeply proud of all we achieved.

“I will continue to support the Prime Minister and the Government in every way I can.”

Shadow education secretary reacts to Gavin Williamson’s removal

15:14 , Celine Wadhera

The shadow education secretary said that outgoing education secretary Gavin Williamson left behind a legacy of exams chaos and demoralised staff.

“Gavin Williamson has failed children and young people, their parents and our hardworking education staff throughout one of the most testing periods in our history,” Kate Green said.

“Two years of exams chaos and staff abandoned, unsupported and demoralised. That is Gavin Williamson’s legacy.

“The prime minister has allowed this to happen, keeping a failing education secretary in post for months and refusing to fight for children’s futures.”

Dominic Raab removed as foreign secretary, confirmed as deputy prime minister

15:31 , Celine Wadhera

Dominic Raab has been removed from his post as foreign secretary, but confirmed as the new justice secretary, Lord Chancellor and deputy prime minister, in the first appointment of Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle.

Dominic Raab demoted from foreign secretary but becomes deputy PM

Rishi Sunak will retain his post as Chancellor

15:41 , Celine Wadhera

Rishi Sunak will retain his post as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Downing Street confirmed on Twitter.

Amanda Milling, Tory party co-chairman sacked

15:50 , Celine Wadhera

Amanda Milling, the co-chairman of the Conservative Party, announced her removal from her post on Twitter.

“It’s been a privilege and an honour to be the Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party,” she said before thanking the voluntary party, the team at CCHQ and the prime minister.

“I will continue working to deliver on our plans to level up the UK.”

Gove and Dowden enter Downing Street

15:52 , Celine Wadhera

Cabinet office minister Michael Gove and culture secretary Oliver Dowden have both entered No 10 Downing Street.

 (PA)
(PA)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Priti Patel to remain as home secretary, says No 10 source

15:58 , Celine Wadhera

Home secretary Priti Patel has left Downing Street but did not respond to questions about whether she was still in the same cabinet role amid the prime minister’s reshuffle.

A No 10 source told PA News Agency that Ms Patel would remain in her post as home secretary despite widespread speculation she would be moved to another posting.

‘He should have been sacked over a year ago’ – Labour’s deputy leader celebrates Gavin Williamson’s departure

16:02 , Celine Wadhera

Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, has celebrated education secretary Gavin Williamson’s departure from cabinet.

On Twitter, she said: “It’s good that Gavin Williamson has been sacked but she should have been sacked over a year ago.

“That prat’s absolute idiocy, failures and uselessness have damaged the life chances of our country’s children and this government has failed young people, teachers & education staff.”

Liz Truss appointed foreign secretary

16:03 , Celine Wadhera

Liz Truss has been appointed foreign secretary, replacing Dominic Raab who has been appointed deputy prime minister in Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle.

Political editor Andrew Woodcock reports.

Liz Truss replaces Dominic Raab as foreign secretary in reshuffle

Michael Gove appointed housing minister

16:09 , Celine Wadhera

Former cabinet office minister Michael Gove has been appointed housing minister in Boris Johnson’s cabinet shuffle, Reuters has reported.

Downing Street confirms Patel as home secretary

16:10 , Celine Wadhera

Downing street has officially confirmed that Priti Patel will remain in her post as home secretary.

Michael Gove appointed secretary of state for housing, communities and local government

16:23 , Celine Wadhera

Downing Street has confirmed that Michael Gove has been appointed secretary of state for housing, communities and local government.

“He takes on cross-governmental responsibility for levelling up. He retains ministerial responsibility for the Union and elections,” Downing Street said on Twitter.

Priti Patel: ‘a huge privilege to continue serving as home secretary’

16:32 , Celine Wadhera

Priti Patel, who retained her post as home secretary, tweeted following her re-appointment.

She said: “A huge privilege to continue serving as Home Secretary under our Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“There is still so much more to do to deliver for the British people. Tackling illegal migration, cutting crime and continuing to keep our great country safe.”

16:50 , Celine Wadhera

Labour reacts to departure of justice secretary Robert Buckland

Labour’s shadow justice secretary said that while he was able to work “constructively” with the outgoing minister, the new justice secretary “must be capable of fixing the courts crisis”.

David Lammy said on Twitter: “This Government has run the justice system into the ground and onto the brink of collapse.

“The Crown Court backlog has reached a record-high while the number of rape convictions are at a record-low.

“Always affable, I was able to work constructively with @RobertBuckland during the peak of the coronavirus crisis and wish him well, but the new Justice Secretary must be capable of fixing the courts and victims crisis the Conservative government has created.”

He added: “The new Justice Secretary will be the sixth in the past six years.

“Victims of crime facing years of delays deserve better.

“The new Justice Secretary must be capable of fixing the courts crisis the @Conservatives created.”

Oliver Dowden appointed ‘minister without portfolio, cabinet office’

16:56 , Celine Wadhera

Oliver Dowden has been appointed minister without portfolio, cabinet office, Downing Street has confirmed.

Mr Dowden previously held the post of culture secretary.

The BBC reported that Mr Dowden has also been appointed the new co-chairman of the Conservative Party, replacing Amanda Milling.

Nadine Dorries appointed culture secretary

16:59 , Celine Wadhera

Nadine Dorries has been appointed secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, Downing Street has announced.

She replaces Oliver Dowden who was demoted to minister without portfolio.

Nadhim Zahawi appointed education secretary

17:14 , Celine Wadhera

Nadhim Zahawi has been appointed secretary of state for Education, Downing Street has announced.

Mr Zahawi, who is replacing Gavin Williamson who was ousted earlier this afternoon, gave a double-thumbs up as he left No 10.

Ben Wallace remains Defence Secretary

17:20 , Celine Wadhera

The Rt Hon Ben Wallace will retain his cabinet role as defence secretary, Downing Street has said.

The minister smiled but did not respond to questions as he left No 10.

Stephen Barclay appointed as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and minister for the Cabinet Office

17:37 , Celine Wadhera

The Rt Hon Stephen Barclay has been appointed as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and minister for the cabinet office, Downing Street has confirmed.

Downing Street said: “The Queen has been pleased to approve of the appointment”.

Mr Barclay leaves behind his role as chief secretary to the Treasury, weeks ahead of an important spending review.

The role of the Duchy of Lancaster was formerly held by Michael Gove, who has since become the housing secretary.

Largest teaching union ‘not sorry’ about Williamson’s departure

17:40 , Celine Wadhera

The largest teaching union in the UK has said it is “not sorry” to see Gavin Williamson vacate the post of education secretary.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU) said that many students and parents alike would “never forgive” Mr Williamson for the chaos surrounding grading GCSEs and A-levels.

“We can’t pretend we are sorry that Gavin Williamson has gone,” Mr Courtney said.

“He failed to engage with our suggestions on how to make schools safer during Covid – leading to unnecessary disruption to children and young people’s education.

“His CO2 monitors won’t arrive until very late this term, his laptops took months to reach children who needed them and he has to be dragged kicking and screaming into providing for children going hungry during school holidays,” he added.

PA

Anne-Marie Trevelyan replaces Liz Truss at trade department

17:50 , Celine Wadhera

Anne-Marie Trevelyan will leave her role as business minister and become the new secretary for international trade and president of the board of trade, Downing Street has announced.

Ms Trevelyan replaces Liz Truss who was promoted to foreign secretary earlier this afternoon.

Health secretary Sajid Javid arrives at Downing Street

17:55 , Celine Wadhera

Health secretary Sajid Javid arrived at Downing Street amid the Cabinet shuffle, smiling and looking confident as he entered No 10.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Kwasi Kwarteng remains secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy

18:00 , Celine Wadhera

Downing Street announced that the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng would remain in his role as secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy.

The cabinet minister left No 10 after around 40 minutes, PA reported.

Sajid Javid remains health secretary

18:08 , Celine Wadhera

It appears that health secretary Sajid Javid was justified in his confidence entering No 10, as Downing Street have announced that he will remain in his post as secretary of state for health and social care.

Mr Javid took to Twitter after his re-appointment, saying that he was “very pleased” to remain in his post, which he said was his toughest one yet.

“I’m absolutely determined to get our country through the pandemic, tackle the backlogs, and deliver lasting reforms to health and social care,” he added.

Half of top cabinet roles held by women

18:15 , Celine Wadhera

Half of the top roles in the cabinet are now held by women, as Priti Patel retained her posting as home secretary, and Liz Truss was promoted to foreign secretary.

After the prime minister, the top jobs in the cabinet are considered to be the chancellor of the exchequer – still held by Rishi Sunak ­– the home secretary and the foreign secretary.

Liz Truss is the second woman to hold the post of foreign secretary, after Margaret Beckett in 2006. Priti Patel is the fourth female home secretary, after Jacqui Smith, Theresa May and Amber Rudd.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

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18:20 , Celine Wadhera

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Alok Sharma will continue to serve as Cop26 president

18:22 , Celine Wadhera

Downing street has confirmed that the Rt Hon Alok Sharma will continue to serve as Cop26 President.

Mr Sharma began serving in this role full-time on 8 January 2021, when he resigned his position as secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy. The Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng took the reins from Mr Sharma in January, and retained his cabinet posting in today’s shuffle.

Raab says he is ‘delighted’ with new role after demotion

18:33 , Conrad Duncan

It has been more than two hours since Dominic Raab was demoted in the Cabinet, but we now have an official comment from the new justice secretary.

Mr Raab wrote on Twitter that he was “delighted” to be taking on the new role, following the “privilege” of serving as foreign secretary for two years.

Robert Buckland says Johnson ‘asked for’ his resignation

18:39 , Conrad Duncan

Former justice secretary Robert Buckland has said that Boris Johnson “asked for” his resignation during the Cabinet reshuffle this afternoon.

Mr Buckland has been replaced as Lord Chancellor by former foreign secretary Dominic Raab.

“At our meeting earlier today, you asked for and accepted my resignation as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice,” Mr Buckland said in a letter posted on Twitter.

“I am very sorry to be leaving the government, as it has been the honour of a lifetime to serve as a minister for over seven years; initially as solicitor general, then minister of state for prisons, and finally as Lord Chancellor and secretary of state for the last two years.”

He added that his time as justice secretary was “particularly challenging owing to the Covid pandemic”but said he was “particularly proud” that Britain was “one of the first countries to restart jury trials” following the national lockdown.

Reshuffle update: Coffey stays at work and pensions, Shapp remains at transport

18:47 , Conrad Duncan

Some more updates from the Cabinet reshuffle have come through in the last few minutes.

Downing Street has confirmed that Therese Coffey will remain as the work and pensions secretary, while Brandon Lewis will remain as Northern Ireland secretary.

No 10 also said there would be no change at the top of the Department for Transport, with Grant Shapps continuing as transport secretary

Meanwhile, Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has arrived at Downing Street and told reporters he will “wait and see”' if he gets a promotion.

18:57 , Conrad Duncan

George Eustice has survived as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs following the controversy around the killing of Geronimo the alpaca.

Campaigners, including the alpaca’s owner, had called for Mr Eustice to resign after the animal was euthanised due to concerns that it had bovine tuberculosis.

Nevertheless, Downing Street has indicated that it still has faith in the environment secretary by keeping him in the position.

Meanwhile, No 10 has also confirmed that Alister Jack and Simon Hart will remain in place as Scotland Secretary and Wales Secretary respectively.

19:06 , Conrad Duncan

Lord David Frost is staying in post as Brexit minister in the Cabinet Office, while Baroness Evans will remain as Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords, No 10 has said.

A smiling Lord Frost was seen leaving Downing Street earlier after keeping his job.

Opinion: ‘Johnson is at the peak of his power – and has no idea what to do with it’

19:17 , Conrad Duncan

Boris Johnson’s Cabinet reshuffle signifies “very little” other than a slight shift in favour of competence in senior government positions, according to our commentator John Rentoul.

John writes that power is now set to flow from Downing Street back to departments as the threat of being moved on in the reshuffle is gone.

You can find his full piece for Independent Premium below:

The PM is at the peak of his power, and has no idea what to do with it | John Rentoul

Johnson to give ‘national security announcement’ tonight, No 10 says

19:23 , Conrad Duncan

In non-reshuffle news: Downing Street has just announced that Boris Johnson will give a security statement tonight alongside the leaders of the US and Australia.

“At 2200 BST tonight the Prime Minister will make an on-camera address, alongside US President Biden and Australian Prime Minister Morrison, on a strategic national security announcement,” a No 10 spokesperson said.

Simon Clarke is the new chief secretary to the Treasury

19:41 , Celine Wadhera

Downing Street has announced that Simon Clarke has been appointed chief secretary to the Treasury. No 10 confirmed that he would also attend cabinet.

Mr Clarke has been an MP since 2017 and represents Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland.

The position of chief secretary to the treasury was held by the Rt Hon Stephen Barclay until earlier today, when he was appointed as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and minister for the Cabinet Office.

Flurry of cabinet appointments

19:46 , Celine Wadhera

In a flurry of cabinet appointments over the past few minutes, Downing Street announced that Kit Malthouse would remain a minister of state, jointly at the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice.

Nigel Adams, who previously served as a Foreign Office minister, was appointed minister without a portfolio in the cabinet.

Michelle Donlean will remain in her role as minister of state at the Department of Education.

All will attend cabinet, Downing Street has said.

Jacob Rees-Mogg remains Lord President of the Council and leader of the House of Commons

19:50 , Celine Wadhera

Downing Street announced that The Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg will continue to serve as Lord President of the Council and leader of the House of Commons.

Suella Braverman will continue to serve as Attorney General

19:55 , Celine Wadhera

The Rt Hon Suella Braverman QC will continue to serve as Attorney General, Downing Street has announced.

The Fareham MP was first appointed to the position in February 2020, and has served as an MP since 2015.

She recently returned from maternity leave.

Boris Johnson: the new cabinet will work ‘tirelessly to unite and level up the whole country’

20:13 , Celine Wadhera

Following a full day and ongoing cabinet shuffle, the prime minister took to Twitter to announce his priorities for the new cabinet.

He said: “The Cabinet I have appointed today will work tirelessly to unite and level up the whole country.

“We will build back better from the pandemic and deliver on your priorities.

“Now let’s get on with the job.”

Boris Johnson flexes muscles with shake-up of cabinet for post-Covid era

20:32 , Celine Wadhera

Boris Johnson asserted his dominance over the government with a larger-than-expected cabinet shuffle that saw under-performing ministers removed or demoted. Gavin Williamson was sacked as education secretary, while Dominic Raab and Michael Gove were both demoted within cabinet.

The Independent’s political editor writes that although the shake-up signalled little change in terms of political direction, it displayed an apparent determination to put the struggles of Brexit and Covid squarely behind him, in favour of focusing on domestic priorities like economic recovery and jobs.

Andrew Woodcock reports on the shuffle.

Boris Johnson flexes muscles with shake-up of cabinet for post-Covid era

Nadhim Zahawi: ‘I can’t wait to get started’

20:40 , Celine Wadhera

The new education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, has said that he “can’t wait to get started” in his new role, working to ensure that children and young people have access to a “brilliant education”.

Mr Zahawi said: “Children and young people have had a tough time during this pandemic and I’ll be listening to them and their families as we accelerate our work to build back better and fairer.

“From my own experience, I know what a beacon of opportunity this country can be and I want all children, young people and adults to have access to a brilliant education, the right qualifications and opportunities to secure good jobs. That’s both vital for them and also our economy and is more important now than ever before.

“I can’t wait to get started, working with the amazing teachers and staff in our nurseries, schools, colleges and universities as well as employers and businesses.”

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