Esher & Walton MP Dominic Raab demoted in Boris Johnson reshuffle

Boris Johnson has demoted Dominic Raab and given the Esher and Walton MP the title of Deputy Prime Minister and moved him to the Ministry of Justice.

Raab's demotion comes after being heavily criticised for the Afghanistan controversy while foreign secretary.

The title of Deputy Prime Minister formalises a role he performed as first secretary of state when he stood in for Mr Johnson while the Prime Minister was in hospital with coronavirus.

Mr Raab accepted the new role following lengthy talks with Mr Johnson in the Prime Minister’s Commons office.

The Prime Minister was carrying out a long-awaited shake-up of his top team with plans to put in place a “strong and united” Cabinet following the turbulence of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dominic Raab with Boris Johnson in the Commons

Dominic Raab was on holiday in Crete as the Taliban swept across the country and was seen relaxing on a beach on the Greek island as members of the militant group entered Kabul, although he insisted he was in touch with officials and ministerial colleagues.

Boris Johnson’s decision to move him to the Ministry of Justice from the Foreign Office marks a setback in Mr Raab’s ambitions.

He had designs on the Tory leadership in 2019, although he fell at the second hurdle and subsequently backed Mr Johnson.

However, when Mr Johnson was admitted to hospital with coronavirus in 2020, Mr Raab, as first secretary of state, found himself effectively leading the Government during some of the darkest days of the pandemic.

Dominic Raab seen in Downing Street in April 2020 after Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital

That role has now been formalised with Mr Raab picking up the title of Deputy Prime Minister.

Karate black belt Mr Raab had played up his image as a Brexit hard man during the leadership race in an attempt to win support from the Tory right.

In 2018 he quit his Cabinet role as Brexit secretary in protest against Theresa May’s approach to the issue.

The 47-year-old has been MP for Esher and Walton since 2010 and before that was a Foreign Office lawyer.

Ballot papers for Conservative Party candidate Dominic Raab during the General Election count in 2019

His political career suffered an early setback, with Mrs May taking particular offence at his description of some feminists as “obnoxious bigots” in a 2011 online article in which he attacked the “equality bandwagon” and said men were getting “a raw deal”.

During the 2019 leadership contest he said he would “probably not” describe himself as a feminist although he was “all for working women making the very best of their potential”.

In 2020, at the height of Black Lives Matter protests, Mr Raab suggested “taking the knee” was a symbol of subjugation which originated in TV drama Game Of Thrones, adding he only kneels for “the Queen and the missus when I asked her to marry me”.

The son of a Czech-born Jewish refugee who fled the Nazis in 1938, Mr Raab was brought up in Buckinghamshire and took a law degree at Oxford University before switching to Cambridge for his masters.

He competed in karate for 17 years, winning two British southern region titles, and making the UK squad.

Mr Raab also enjoyed boxing at university and claims it has been “pretty good in terms of preparing me for other big moments”, although “nothing has ever wracked me with nerves quite the same way”.

The senior Tory denied claims, made by his former diary secretary in 2018, that he insisted on the same Pret A Manger lunch every day.

The “Dom Raab special” apparently consisted of a chicken Caesar and bacon baguette, superfruit pot and a vitamin volcano smoothie.