Cabinet reshuffle preps party for 2024 General Election

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© Presiyan Panayotov

Yesterday (15 September), Prime Minister Boris Johnson conducted a Cabinet reshuffle – former education secretary Gavin Williamson fired, and Liz Truss replacing Dominic Raab as foreign secretary

The Cabinet reshuffle is the first since 2020, which happened 13 February – leading to the informal media nickname of ‘The St Valentine’s Day Massacre.’

Now, in September 2021, PM Johnson has begun to reformulate his Cabinet team. Earlier this week, the House of Commons passed a new Social Care Bill at 319-248 votes. The new Bill means that workers in the UK will pay extra tax, amounting to £12 billion a year. The money should be ringfenced for the NHS, then transferred toward a social care plan beginning 2023.

A plan for social care has been highly-anticipated for years, with unpaid carers currently contributing £400 million annually to the UK via their work. The NHS, strained by the pandemic, remains objectively burnt-out. In some cities, ambulances wait for ten hours outside overwhelmed hospitals.

The policy was tenuous across the Conservative Party, as it required the PM to break one of his key manifesto promises – no new taxes. A Cabinet reshuffle, waiting in the wings, helped to shape the final votes of potential rebels.

Now, the reshuffle is upon us.

So, which Cabinet members lost their jobs?

Former education secretary, Gavin Williamson, was fired yesterday. He has not been given a new Cabinet role, relegating the South Staffordshire MP to the backbenches.

The pandemic created unprecedented situations in classrooms across the country, but Williamson was internally believed to have missed the ball on dealing with them.

Former vaccines minister Nadhim Zawahi, believed to have dominated in his role, has taken over as education secretary.

Former justice secretary, Robert Buckland, was also fired from the Cabinet. His role of justice secretary and Lord Chancellor have been transferred to Dominic Raab.

When the Taliban begun to sweep through Afghanistan, the former foreign secretary Raab was found to be on holiday. The resultant media focus led to a negative perception of him, as failing to handle the humanitarian horrors unfurling on his watch. He was fired, but clawed back the positions taken from Buckland – with an extra formality on top, as the official Deputy Prime Minister.

Lis Truss replaced Raab as foreign secretary, while home secretary Priti Patel and chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak retained their jobs. The new health secretary, Sajid Javid, also remains in place after replacing Matt Hancock in June, 2021.

Michael Gove returns to Cabinet as housing minister, after Robert Jenrick was also fired. The ambiguous current understanding of ‘levelling-up’ will be concentrated through this department.

Oliver Dowden, former culture secretary, has been moved to Conservative Campaign Headquarters as co-chairman of the party. Though being removed from the Cabinet team looks like a demotion, there is an understanding that he is moving there to ready the party for a 2024 General Election.

More appointments are expected throughout the day.


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