Raab, Barclay and Shapps out of Government as Liz Truss begins forming Cabinet

·4-min read

Liz Truss began her Cabinet reshuffle with a cull of prominent Rishi Sunak supporters, sending Dominic Raab, Grant Shapps and Steve Barclay to the backbenches swiftly after she became Prime Minister.

She removed the senior figures who had backed her rival in the Tory leadership race promptly after heading to her House of Commons office following her first speech in Downing Street on Tuesday.

Mr Raab, who was justice secretary as well as second in command to Boris Johnson, had not expected to continue his run in Government, having described Ms Truss’s tax plans as an “electoral suicide note”.

The MP for Esher and Walton announced he would be supporting the Government from the backbenches.

“Thanks to the brilliant MoJ (Ministry of Justice) team for all their hard work over the last year. Good luck to the new PM and her team,” Mr Raab tweeted.

“I look forward to supporting the Government from the backbenches.”

Mr Shapps also tweeted his own exit as Transport Secretary but did not make the same remarks of support for the new Tory leader.

“It has been a privilege to serve as Transport Secretary; a job I loved,” he said.

“Now I look forward to being a strong, independent voice on the backbenches, developing policies that will further the Conservative cause and the interests of my constituents in Welwyn Hatfield.”

Shailesh Vara, another Sunak backer, was out as Northern Ireland Secretary, saying he would support the Government from the backbenches.

Mr Barclay, the MP for North East Cambridgeshire who had been health secretary for Mr Johnson’s final months in office, tweeted: “Thanks to all colleagues, both political & civil service, for their fantastic support. Wishing @trussliz & her ministerial team every success for the future.”

Priti Patel, who did not endorse any candidate for the leadership, announced her departure as Home Secretary on Monday before Ms Truss even took office.

The role has been publicly linked with Suella Braverman, the Attorney General.

Johnny Mercer, who did not say who he was backing in the race, said he was “disappointed” to be sacked as veterans’ affairs minister, but accepted the Prime Minister is “entitled to reward her supporters”.

The Plymouth Moor View MP also suggested he could quit the Commons, saying: “I have to accept that I will never possess the qualities required for enduring success in politics as it stands, and to be fair to my wonderful family, I must consider my future.”

Greg Clark said he was out as levelling up secretary, a role he was appointed to as Mr Johnson prepared to announce his own resignation after a series of scandals.

Andrew Stephenson, who remained publicly neutral during the contest as Conservative Party chairman, also said he was leaving the role.

Earlier, Nadine Dorries, who had backed Ms Truss, confirmed that she had been asked by Ms Truss to stay on as Culture Secretary but had decided that she also would be returning to the backbenches.

Mr Sunak, the former chancellor whose resignation helped trigger the downfall of Boris Johnson, has also made clear he does not expect to be offered a new job.

His supporters, however, have been urging Ms Truss to appoint an “inclusive” Cabinet and not simply surround herself with loyalists in the way that Mr Johnson was accused of doing.

Ahead of the formal announcements, a number of the most senior positions have already become clear with Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng set to take over as Chancellor and Education Secretary James Cleverly becoming Foreign Secretary.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey – regarded as Ms Truss’s closest confidante at Westminster – is expected to be the new Health Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister, while Mrs Braverman is heading for the Home Office.

Ben Wallace is set to remain as Defence Secretary, but there is less certainty over other appointments.