Who has gone where in Rishi Sunak’s cabinet reshuffle?
Rishi Sunak has announced a mini-reshuffle as he replaces his sacked Tory chairman Nadhim Zahawi and tries to boost his party’s disastrous poll ratings.
The prime minister’s loyal ally Greg Hands has been named as the successor for Mr Zahawi, sacked for breaching the ministerial code over his tax affairs.
The PM has broken up the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) into separate ministries – creating a new energy department and merging trade into business.
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) department has been shrunk, while a new science, innovation and technology department has been set up. The Independent takes a look at the merry-go-round.
Greg Hands becomes new Tory chairman
Mr Hands, currently a junior trade minister, has taken over from Mr Zahawi as the Conservative party chairman and becomes a cabinet minister without portfolio.
A big supporter of Mr Sunak and viewed as a safe pair of hands, the MP for Hammersmith and Fulham has previously enjoyed roles as Treasury secretary and deputy chief whip.
Mr Hands will now play a crucial role in fundraising and leading the Tories into May’s local elections, which are widely expected to be dire for the party.
Sunak moves Shapps and promotes Badenoch in BEIS shake up
Grant Shapps is moved from BEIS and becomes the new secretary for energy and net zero, while Kemi Badenoch becomes the business and trade secretary as part of the big shake up.
It amounts to big promotion for Ms Badenoch, the Tory leadership contender who become a darling of the anti-woke right during the summer contest, as she takes on responsibility for boosting British business at home and abroad.
Labour’s shadow climate secretary Ed Miliband said that it looked like the Tories wre admitting they “got it wrong” by scrapping the Department of Energy in 2016.
Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said it was a “positive step”, but added: “Changing Whitehall machinery doesn’t get you better energy policy. Changing energy policy is also what’s needed.”
New science and tech department as DCMS shrunk
Mr Sunak has also shrunk the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) department, hiving off the digital part for a new ministry for science and tech innovation.
Michelle Donelan takes up a role leading the new department as science, innovation and technology secretary, while Lucy Frazer replaces her as culture secretary.
Ms Frazer’s promotion presumably means there is a vacancy for the post of housing minister at the levelling up department. It would mean the nation would have the sixth new housing minister in a year.
Mr Sunak reportedly wanted Michael Gove as science secretary but he was keen to stay as levelling uop secretary. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson loyalist Nadine Dorries said it was “sad” that the culture department had been diminished, saying it had “tragically lacked profile of late”.
Dominic Raab stays in cabinet
The under-pressure deputy prime minister keeps his cabinet job, despite calls for him to resign or be sacked while the independent investigation into bullying allegations continues.
Mr Sunak has decided to let “due process” play out until the end of Adam Tolley KC’s inquiry – still expected to be several weeks. It allows Labour and the opposition parties to paint the Tories as the party of “sleaze”.
Former Tory chancellor George Osborne suggested that Mr Sunak could deal with the “distracting” bullying probe by using a reshuffle to put Mr Raab on the backbenches, and allow him to return if cleared.
Civil servants allegedly bullied by Mr Raab have suffered “mental health crises” and lost careers, Dave Penman, the leader of the FDA union representing Whitehall officials, has claimed. Some Tory MPs have suggested he is “toast” at the end of the inquiry.