Boris Johnson has carried out a hasty mini reshuffle as he continues to resist calls to apologize for his controversial attack on Sir Keir Starmer over Jimmy Savile.
The Prime Minister gave some men – and a few women – promotions in what was quickly dubbed a “heshuffle” of loyalists.
It was triggered after Cabinet Minister Steve Barclay became No 10 chief of staff following the departure of five senior No 10 staff and Met Police launched an investigation into the anti-lockdown parties, reports the Mirror.
The changes include new faces in the whips office and a staunch Brexit supporter tasked with maximizing the benefits of leaving the European Union.
Jacob Rees Mogg was sacked as Leader of the House of Commons but received a £35,825 pay rise on becoming Minister for ‘Brexit Opportunities and Government Effectiveness’.
Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the Labor Party, said: ‘Who says boring men don’t fail upwards? #heshuffle’.
The major changes announced by Downing Street are:
Chief Whip: Chris Heaton-Harris
Chris Heaton-Harris, an ultra-loyalist who was a key member of the shadow whipping operation that rallied behind Mr Johnson in recent weeks, has been appointed chief whip.
In the MP for Daventry and Minister for Transport, the Prime Minister chose a self-proclaimed ‘fierce eurosceptic’ and former minister in Theresa May’s administration.
Outside Westminster, he is known for a Twitter account that featured numerous Christmas cracker-style jokes before his ministerial responsibilities got in the way.
A sense of humor can prove essential as he tries to manage a party that seems intent on tearing itself apart publicly.
Minister for Brexit Opportunities: Jacob Rees-Mogg
Jacob Rees-Mogg has been named minister for Brexit opportunities as Boris Johnson tries to cement his post as prime minister.
The top Tory, who has also been tasked with ‘government efficiency’, has previously said the ‘crushing opportunity of Brexit lies over the next 50 years’.
To avoid it being seen as a demotion, Boris Johnson said he would remain in Cabinet. He also gets a pay rise of £35,825 as Ministers of State are paid more than the Leader of the Commons.
Leader of the Commons: Mark Spencer
The Prime Minister has moved Chief Whip Mark Spencer to the role of Leader of the House of Commons, who has responsibility for upholding standards across the House.
But the Mirror reports that some MPs were deeply concerned that Mr Spencer was given the job while he was under investigation over allegations of racism made by Tory MP Nus Ghani, and Tory MPs complained to Scotland Yard about the behavior of the Whips Office.
Ms Nusrat told The Sunday Times that a government whip told her her ‘Muslimness’ had been raised as an issue during the cabinet reshuffle. Mr Spencer posted on Twitter to identify himself but denied the substance of the allegation.
His new role will see him still play a major role in liaising between Tory backbenchers and No 10.
Housing Minister: Stuart Andrew
Boris Johnson has appointed England’s 11th housing minister in just 12 years.
Deputy Chief Whip Stuart Andrew has moved to the Department of Housing as part of a cleanup of the whips office.
Current Housing Minister Chris Pincher was sidelined and believed to be heading for Deputy Chief Whip. Housing campaigners have already reacted with dismay to the constant turnover of different ministers as England faces a housing crisis.
He will be responsible for achieving the goal of building 300,000 homes per year. A message on Mr Andrew’s website states ‘Save Our Greenbelt’, opposing a plan for 70,000 homes over the next 16 years in and around Leeds.
The MP for Pudsey, who is an owner himself, was elected in 2010 and remained in the backseats until joining the whips’ desk in 2017.
Cabinet Minister: Michael Ellis
The Paymaster General retains his role but also takes on some of Steve Barclay’s responsibilities in the Cabinet Office.
The MP since 2010 has held various junior government posts under Theresa May before serving in the Department for Transport and as Solicitor General and Attorney General under Boris Johnson.
The Northampton QC was a criminal barrister for 17 years and personally oversaw a scheme to raise £100,000 for a stained glass window to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Cabinet Minister: Heather Wheeler
The loyalist and Boris Johnson whip is returning to government proper as a parliamentary secretary in the Cabinet Office, in addition to her current jobs.
Elected in 2010, she rose to prominence after mounting a failed bid to replace Sir Graham Brady as chair of the 1922 backbench committee – which oversees Tory leadership challenges.
As homelessness minister in 2019, she was forced to apologize after leaked emails showed her using ‘racist’ language about rough sleepers.
The Tory MP for South Derbyshire described homeless people in her constituency as ‘the traditional type, old tinkerers, wandering knife-cutters’.
When she was appointed homelessness minister, she said she would resign if the street did not fall. She moved to the Foreign Office 18 months later.
- james shrewdly remains in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but becomes Minister for Europe instead of Minister for the Middle East, North Africa and North America
- Luke Hall is appointed vice-president of the Conservative Party.
- Wendy Morton is promoted from Junior Minister to Minister of State in the Department of Transport.
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