More moves ahead as Boris Johnson continues 'brutal' top team reshuffle

Westminster is surprised at the 'swiftness and brutality' of the reshuffle as ITV News Political Correspondent Romilly Weeks reports

The Prime Minister has said he and his new Cabinet will "get on with the job" after a major reshuffle in government.

Among the many changes, Gavin Williamson was sacked and replaced by Nadhim Zahawi as education secretary while Dominic Raab was moved from foreign secretary and replaced by Liz Truss.

Mr Raab, now deputy prime minister, has also been appointed lord chancellor and justice secretary - taking over from Robert Buckland.

Priti Patel has kept her job as home secretary, despite speculation to the contrary, and Michael Gove has been drafted in as the new housing secretary.

How big is the challenge facing Michael Gove? ITV News Political Correspondent Dan Hewitt, who's been reporting on the housing crisis for the past six month, explains

Mr Gove has been tasked with taking on “cross-government responsibility for levelling up”.

His appointment comes amid a series of damning reports by ITV News into the state of social housing in the country - something his predecessor Robert Jenrick previously said was "nothing to do with government funding at all."

In full: What changes have been made?

  • Dominic Raab, removed as foreign secretary and appointed deputy prime minister and justice secretary

  • Liz Truss, promoted from international trade to foreign secretary

  • Robert Buckland, removed as lord chancellor and justice secretary

  • Gavin Williamson, removed as education secretary

  • Nadhim Zahawi, replaces Gavin Williamson as education secretary

  • Robert Jenrick, removed as housing secretary

  • Michael Gove, appointed housing secretary

  • Oliver Dowden, moved from culture secretary to minister without portfolio in the Cabinet Office

  • Nadine Dorries, replaces Dowden as culture secretary

  • Anne-Marie Trevelyan, appointed International Trade Secretary

  • Steve Barclay, appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Cabinet Office minister

  • Simon Clarke, appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury

  • Amanda Milling, removed as co-chairman of the conservative party and moved to minister of state in the foreign office

  • Nigel Adams, appointed as minister of state (minister without portfolio)

  • Julia Lopez, appointed minister of state at the DCMS

  • Victoria Prentis, appointed minister of state at DEFRA

Mr Williamson said it “has been a privilege to serve as education secretary” as he left the Cabinet all together.

The former education secretary said he looks “forward to continuing to support the prime minister and the government.”

This was Boris Johnson 'at his most ruthless' says ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston

Mr Williamson has come in for widespread criticism over his handling of his departmental responsibilities during the coronavirus pandemic.

He was particularly criticised over the summer exams in 2020 when the government was forced into a U-turn following outrage at a marking algorithm that downgraded 40% of predicted A-Level grades by exams regulator Ofqual.

New Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said on Wednesday night education is a “crucial part” of the government’s levelling-up agenda, adding it is an “honour” to be appointed Secretary of State.

Teachers and parents react Gavin Williamson's sacking as ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports

He said: “Children and young people have had a tough time during this pandemic and I’ll be listening to them and their families as we accelerate our work to build back better and fairer.

“From my own experience, I know what a beacon of opportunity this country can be and I want all children, young people and adults to have access to a brilliant education, the right qualifications and opportunities to secure good jobs.

“That’s both vital for them and also our economy, and is more important now than ever before.”

Liz Truss, newly-appointed foreign secretary, leaving 10 Downing Street. Credit: PA

Mr Williamson's announcement was quickly followed by Mr Jenrick and Mr Buckland, who have both been dropped as secretary for housing and for justice respectively.

All three have left government, and returned to the backbenches.

Mr Jenrick said it had been a “huge privilege” to serve as Communities Secretary as he confirmed his exit, saying he will “continue to support the Prime Minister and the Government in every way I can.”

Mr Buckland said: "It has been an honour to serve in Government for the last 7 years, and as the Lord Chancellor for the last 2," he wrote on Twitter.

"I am deeply proud of everything I have achieved. On to the next adventure."

Ms Milling, who had been co-chairman of the Conservative Party, thanked Mr Johnson in a tweet confirming she will "continue working to deliver on our plans to level up the UK."

A shake-up of the prime minister’s top team has been long expected in Westminster.

“The PM will today conduct a reshuffle to put in place a strong and united team to build back better from the pandemic,” A No 10 source said.

“Yesterday, the PM set out his plan for managing Covid during the autumn and winter.

“But the government must also redouble our efforts to deliver on the people’s priorities.

“The PM will be appointing ministers this afternoon with a focus on uniting and levelling up the whole country.”

Robert Buckland said he is onto the 'next adventure.' Credit: PA

Confirmation of the reshuffle came as Mr Johnson was on his feet in the Commons taking Prime Minister’s Questions earlier on Wednesday.

The PM's presence in the Commons could allow him to sack ministers in his parliamentary office, away from the cameras in Downing Street.

Mr Johnson’s former aide Dominic Cummings has branded the shake-up the “Carrie reshuffle”, suggesting that Mrs Johnson’s allies would be rewarded.

But asked if the prime minister’s wife had been consulted on the reshuffle, the official Downing Street spokesman said: “No.”

On Wednesday evening, the PM tweeted: “The Cabinet I have appointed today will work tirelessly to unite and level up the whole country.

“We will build back better from the pandemic and deliver on your priorities.

“Now let’s get on with the job.”