Johnson, Seeking to Bolster His Standing, Will Reshuffle Cabinet

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A reshuffle would give Mr Johnson a chance to replace top posts in his government at a time when his popularity appears to be waning.

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LONDON – Prime Minister Boris Johnson will launch a long-awaited shake-up in his cabinet on Wednesday, the British government said, which is set to revive a government whose popularity seems to be waning. .

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Much speculation about cabinet changes in recent weeks has focused on the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, whose position has been viewed as weak after widespread criticism of his handling of the evacuation from Afghanistan. When the Taliban took control of Kabul, his decision to delay his return from vacation further aggravated his situation.

Downing Street confirmed the shake-up in a statement, but did not provide any further details. “The prime minister will reshuffle today to build a strong and cohesive team to better cope with the pandemic,” a spokesperson said.

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A reshuffle would give Johnson a chance to reshape the top sectors of his government ahead of a party convention next month, in which he will attempt to provide a clear post-Covid policy agenda. But with the number of coronavirus cases still high, the government is also gearing up for the possibility of hospitalizations in the fall and winter.

On Tuesday, Mr Johnson laid out his plan to combat the virus as winter approached, saying Britain would offer vaccine booster shots to people aged 50 and above, and children aged 12 to 15. Will give the first shot. His government is determined to survive. Another lockdown but may resort to measures like mask mandates as the infection progresses.

After the successful launch of Britain’s vaccine program earlier this year, Mr Johnson’s Conservatives surged in opinion polls, but that edge appears to be fading. Last week Mr Johnson took a gamble by breaking an election promise not to raise taxes so he could allocate more cash to health and social care.

His critics have also complained of a lack of clarity about the government’s main domestic promise of “flattening”, meant to provide prosperity to economically disadvantaged regions.

Senior ministers who have faced criticism include Education Secretary Gavin Williamson; Home Secretary, Priti Patel, whose department is responsible for police and immigration; and the Secretary of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick.

But so far Mr Johnson has been reluctant to transfer or remove members of a top team, initially chosen from his own supporters and supporters of Brexit, which Mr Johnson championed.

Since his resounding general election victory in December 2019, Mr Johnson has made some changes to his cabinet, most notably in February 2020, when Sajid Javid accepted restrictions on his right to hire his own advisers. Resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer after refusing to.

Mr Javid’s job went to Rishi Sunak, who has emerged as a key figure in the government and a possible successor to Mr Johnson. However, Mr Javid returned to cabinet as health secretary earlier this year after his predecessor Matt Hancock was forced to resign from that position in June.

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