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

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Boris Johnson is set to take the ax to his cabinet, as Downing Street sources confirmed he will reshuffle ministers this afternoon.

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Seniors at risk in the first major reshuffle of Mr Johnson’s premiership include Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

And Home Secretary Priti Patel has been tipped by some in Westminster as a candidate for the chop, following her failure to stop the growing number of small boats bringing refugees from France.


Mr Johnson has only a few days to reshape his top team before leaving for the US for a speech at the UN General Assembly early next week. This week was effectively his last chance to make a widely anticipated reshuffle to give new ministers time to prepare for high-profile speeches at next month’s Conservative annual convention in Manchester.

And he will be happy to be able to divert attention from the Commons debate and vote called by Labor this afternoon on the upcoming £1,000-a-year cut in Universal Credit payments.

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A Downing Street source said: “The prime minister will reshuffle today to build a strong and cohesive team to better come back from the pandemic.”

The source said: “Yesterday, the PM laid out his plan for managing COVID during autumn and winter.

“But the government should also redouble our efforts to meet the priorities of the people. PM will appoint ministers this afternoon and focus on uniting and leveling the entire country.

It is expected that Mr Johnson will summon ministers facing dismissal to his private office in the House of Commons after the weekly session of the Prime Minister’s Questions, spare them the ordeal of walking Downing Street in front of TV cameras.

Senior appointments are expected this afternoon, and junior ranks will be filled on Thursday.

Mr Williamson’s position has long been in danger after several disasters over exams and the reopening of the school.


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