Jacob Rees-Mogg handed £35,000 promotion by Boris Johnson in Cabinet reshuffle

Jacob Rees-Mogg (PA)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (PA)

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been appointed as the Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency as part of Boris Johnson's mini Cabinet reshuffle in the wake of the Partygate scandal.

The position means the former Leader of the House of Commons will be a member of the prime minister's Cabinet and receive a 35,000 pay rise.

Following a release of a limited version of the Sue Gray report, Johnson promised to make changes to the way Downing Street was run after it found there were "failures of leadership and judgement".

The shake-up of the ministerial team follows the appointment of Stephen Barclay as the Prime Minister’s chief of staff and comes as Mr Johnson seeks to relaunch his administration following the partygate row.

Rees-Mogg has been one of Johnson's most ardent supporters over Partygate, and was criticised last month for claiming a general election must take place if Boris Johnson was forced from office.

Rees-Mogg told BBC's Newsnight any new leader would “be very well advised to seek a fresh mandate” by going to the country.

Watch: Jacob Rees-Mogg defends Boris Johnson

The Conservatives' poll rating has suffered in 2022. (PA)
The Conservatives' poll rating has suffered in 2022. (PA)

But one Tory MP said that in a parliamentary democracy, the Commons leader’s remarks were a “constitutional and legal nonsense”.

Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner criticised Rees-Mogg's appointment, tweeting: "Whopping more than £35k pay rise for Jacob Rees-Mogg who was up to his neck in the Owen Patterson scandal.

"Similar rise for Michael Ellis who is clearly being rewarded for answering tricky questions on behalf of others.

"Who said dull men don't fail upwards? #heshuffle"

It comes after the PM faced a number of resignations in his top team over the debacle.

Amid the reshuffle, Chief Whip Mark Spencer has now been given Rees-Mogg's former role as Leader of the House of Commons.

But alarm bells are reportedly being sounded in Parliament over the appointment, as Spencer is currently under investigation over claims from a Tory MP was sacked as a minister because of her Muslim faith.

Nusrat Ghani claimed that her "Muslimness was raised as an issue" at a meeting with a Whip in Downing Street in 2020.

Spencer later identified himself as the Whip in question but denied the claims.

Chief Whip Mark Spencer arrives in Downing Street, London, for the government's weekly Cabinet meeting. Picture date: Tuesday February 8, 2022.
Amid the reshuffle, Chief Whip Mark Spencer has now been given Rees-Mogg's former role as Leader of the House of Commons (PA)

Deputy chief whip Stuart Andrew has also been removed from his position and appointed Minister for Housing in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Chris Heaton-Harris has been appointed as the new Chief Whip, Downing Street said.

Michael Ellis will also attend Cabinet after having the role of Minister for the Cabinet Office added to his existing post as Paymaster General.

Heather Wheeler MP was appointed parliamentary secretary in the Cabinet Office as part of Boris Johnson’s mini-reshuffle, No 10 has confirmed.

The position will be in addition to her current role as an assistant government whip.

Johnson has been keen to move past the Partygate saga, which has dominated the political agenda for over a month since he admitted attending a party in the gardens of Downing Street during lockdown in May 2020.

Watch: Sir Keir Starmer's comments after being cleared over allegations he was partying in a constituency office

The Gray report was only partially released after the Metropolitan Police announced they had launched a criminal investigation into 12 of the events.

The ongoing situation has threatened to bring Johnson's premiership to its knees, although the PM is clinging to power amid rumours Tory MPs are preparing to launch a vote of no confidence against their leader.

Johnson is also under further pressure to apologise for comments he made regarding Jimmy Savile and Sir Keir Starmer.

Stamer was mobbed by a group of protesters on Monday evening, a week after the prime minister falsely accused the Labour leader of failing to prosecute Savile when he was director of public prosecutions.

The group were heard shouting "Jimmy Savile", "paedophile protector", "traitor" and "disgrace" as police whisked him to safety.

Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said on Tuesday that Johnson's words were "inappropriate".

He told MPs: “I know it has been reported that some abuse was directed at the leader of the Opposition yesterday related to claims made by the prime minister in this chamber.

“But regardless of yesterday’s incident, I made it clear last week that while the prime minister’s words were not disorderly they were inappropriate.

“As I said then, these sorts of comments only inflame opinions and generate disregard for the House and it is not acceptable.

“Our words have consequences and we should always be mindful of the fact.”