Cabinet reshuffle 2021 LIVE: Dominic Raab demoted & replaced by Liz Truss as Williamson is AXED – but Gove survives

Cabinet reshuffle 2021 LIVE: Dominic Raab demoted & replaced by Liz Truss as Williamson is AXED – but Gove survives

September 15, 2021

BORIS Johnson has wielded the axe in a brutal Cabinet reshuffle that today saw Dominic Raab demoted and Gavin Williamson fired.

Embattled Mr Raab accepted a humiliating shunting from Foreign to Justice Secretary following a terse meeting with the PM this afternoon.

To soften the blow Mr Johnson gave him the job title as Deputy PM, a symbolic promotion from his current role as First Secretary of State.

Liz Truss was promoted as his replacement in the Foreign Office, meaning – with Priti Patel – two of the top four jobs in Government are held by women.

Mr Williamson was widely expected to be removed as Education Secretary following a pandemic beset by endless fiascoes with schools and PR disasters.

Robert Buckland was sacked as Justice Secretary and Robert Jenrick removed as Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick in surprise firings.

The PM is overhauling his top team in a long-awaited shake-up ahead of the Conservative Party conference in a few weeks.

Ambitious MPs desperate to climb the ladder were standing by their phones as the Westminster rumour mill went into overdrive.

For weeks the PM has dangled the prospect of a reshuffle to whip rebellious MPs into line for a series of crunch votes.

Now – as he looks to get back on the front foot following a bruising few months – the reshuffle is finally on.

Read our Boris Johnson live blog below for the latest updates…

  • Natasha Clark


    Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi gets a promotion to Education Secretary, after a successful stint rolling out the jabs to the nation.

    He replaces Gavin Williamson, who was widely blasted for the schools and exams chaos during the pandemic.

  • Natasha Clark


    Previously a health minister, Nadine Dorries has got a promotion up to Culture.

    She knows a bit about culture, it's fair to say. Dorries went on I'm a Celebrity… Get me Out of Here in 2012.

    Other Tories gave her a hard time, she lost the Tory whip, and was then the first to be voted off the show…. oops.

    And she's a best-selling author too.

  • Natasha Clark


    Culture Sec Oliver Dowden has been demoted… he's now a minister without portfolio.

    Poor Oliver, just as the events started to reappear too…

    Mark Spencer remains Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip, too.

  • Jack Elsom


    By Jack Elsom, Political Reporter

    Liz Truss's promotion to Foreign Secretary will go down a storm with the Conservative Party faithful. 

    She recently topped a grassroots activists' poll of Cabinet Ministers, beating even Rishi Sunak to the top spot.

    A minister under David Cameron, she is the longest serving member of the Cabinet. 

    For years she was best-known for a viral conference clip lamenting the lack of cheesemaking in the UK.

    "This. Is. A. Disgrace", she famously declared. 

    But recently Truss has carved out a reputation as a buccaneering free-marketeer, using her job as Trade Secretary to champion post-Brexit deals. 

  • Natasha Clark


    Gove has been confirmed as the new Housing Secretary.

    He also continues with half of his Cabinet office roles – levelling up and the union – two of the PM's major priorities.

    That's a pretty big role there.

    And don't forget, the MCLG (Ministry of Communities and Local Government) has got some pretty major planning reforms to get through next.

    Dozens of Tory MPs are said to be opposed to the reforms, which will help to build more homes.

    But they will also take powers away from locals and planners – sparking outrage in leafy Tory seats in the South of England.

    The planning reform was even blamed for the Tories losing the Chesham and Amersham by-election to the Lib Dems earlier this year.

    Oh and he'll still keep responsibility for elections too – with ministers bringing in voter ID for the polls by 2023.

    It's fair to say he'll be pretty busy in the next few months…

    Credit: Getty
  • Natasha Clark


    Catherine Haddon from the IFG says that now Liz Truss is at the Foreign Office, two women are now in the four "great offices of state" for the first time ever.

    She says the last time that happened was under Theresa May, when Amber Rudd was her Home Secretary.

    PM keeping the girls at the top.

    Liz Truss will also keep her women and equalities brief.

  • Natasha Clark


    Health minister Nadine Dorries is off in to see the PM next.The party chairman role is open?

    Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi is also in No10.

    But she's pretending to have no idea what it might be… as per this fantastic picture from the street.

    Come off it, Nadine!

    Credit: i-Images


  • Natasha Clark


    Credit: AP


  • Jack Elsom


    Liz Truss has been promoted from Trade Secretary to Foreign Secretary.

    The longest serving member of the Cabinet, she now holds one of the top four jobs in Government.

    She replaces Dominic Raab who was demoted to Justice Secretary earlier today.

    With Priti Patel as Home Secretary, two of the Great Offices of State are now occupied by women.

    Credit: i-Images
  • Natasha Clark


    A very smiley looking Mr Gove has also made his way into No10 too, this afternoon.

    Previously an ally of the PM, the pair fell out when Mr Gove went it alone in the Tory leadership contest of 2016, following the historic Brexit vote.

    In the past few years Mr Gove's been a key part of Boris' top team, and has been trusted with more and more responsibility.

    What job might be get next?

    Credit: AFP

    Just a reminder of what he was up to at a club in Aberdeen a few days earlier…

    Credit: emmalamentmusic/facebook


  • Natasha Clark


    The amount of time the PM was in closed-door discussions with Dominic Raab has made everyone think the meeting was less than cordial.

    And after the chaos of the UK's withdrawal from Afghanistan (overseen by Raab), there was plenty speculation that he was on the way out.

    Allies of the Foreign Sec said he was "aggrieved" for being blamed for the mess of the exit from Kabul, and appeared to have "spent some time getting things off his chest" during their tense one-on-one.

    The PM will always have a soft spot for him after he filled in him when he was ill in hospital with Covid.

    But he has now been moved to be Secretary of State for Justice – a clear demotion.

    And he's managed to bag a sweetener too – an official title as deputy PM.

    Some will say it's a figurehead role with no power, and that he was already 'defacto' deputy-PM anyway.

    It's still a role that hasn't been filled since Nick Clegg under the coalition, and comes with an impressive sounding name.

    But after what we can presume was a tense hour or so of talks, are the pair even on the same page anymore?

    Whitehall insiders said they clashed on "almost every major foreign policy issue going"

    Dominic Raab going into No10 todayCredit: AFP
  • Natasha Clark


    Priti Patel will stay as Home Secretary, we're hearing.

    Boris is sticking with Prit…

    Priti on the way in to meet with the PMCredit: PA
  • Natasha Clark


    Amanda Milling has confirmed she's left her role as co-chairman of the Tory Party.

  • Natasha Clark


    Not that it was ever in doubt, but, there we go.

  • Natasha Clark


    Trade boss Liz Truss has just been seen going into No10 after Raab came out.

    Is she off to be the next Foreign Sec?

    Lix Truss going behind the famous black door this afternoonCredit: PA
  • Natasha Clark


    No10's official Twitter account have just put this out.

    Raab looks a bit shocked, eh.

  • Natasha Clark


    … Not sacked then, it seemed, but demoted to another role. Harry Cole is hearing that Raab has gone to Justice… but also has become deputy PM.

    Not a traditional role, it carries no salary and the holder doesn't automatically become PM in the same way a vice president does.

    The most recent person to hold the role was Lib Dem Nick Clegg during the coalition years… remember him?

    Raab looking somewhat pleased with himself this afternoon as he went into No10Credit: AFP
  • Natasha Clark


    As we know, the Commons office is where the sackings usually take place… but now the PM has moved to his Downing Street office.

    No10 have not confirmed whether Mr Raab is still in Government…but they've not said he's left.

    But now we've seen him coming up Downing Street.

    Sounds like he's been offered a demotion he doesn't want, and Raab's fought back. Spicy.

  • Natasha Clark



    Buckland, Jenrick and Williamson are out.

    No10 say: Robert Buckland, Robert Jenrick and Gavin Williamson have now left Government.

    Robert Buckland has made a huge contribution to government as Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, including making our streets safer through significant reforms to sentencing and tackling reoffending. The Prime Minister is grateful for his hard work and dedication.

    Robert Jenrick has led crucial work over the last two years, most importantly driving reforms to build more houses so home ownership becomes a reality for many more people. The Prime Minister is grateful for his drive and commitment.

    Gavin Williamson has played a key role in transforming the skills agenda as we create a high wage and high skilled economy, providing a lifetime skills guarantee for millions across the country. The Prime Minister is grateful for his loyalty and service.

  • Nicholas Gutteridge


    The first part of today's Cabinet reshuffle is now over, with the PM having removed Gavin Williamson from education, Robert Buckland from justice, and Robert Jenrick from housing.

    Dominic Raab has just left Parliament with his future still unclear amid reports he's "throwing his toys out of the pram" at the prospect of being demoted from foreign secretary.

    The PM is now back at No 10 where he will welcome the ministers he's going to offer promotions to.

  • Jack Elsom


    By Jack Elsom, Political Reporter

    Boris Johnson's decision to remove both Robert Buckland and Robert Jenrick has caught many in Westminster by surprise.

    Both the Justice Secretary and Housing Secretary were trusted media performers regularly sent out to bat for the Government on TV.

    Jenrick – who is only 39 – was dragged into a row last year when he fast-tracked approval of a multi-billion project for Tory donor Richard Desmond.

    But at this stage both he and Buckland appear to have been collateral damage in the PM's wider restructuring – perhaps to make way for new roles for Dominic Raab and Michael Gove.

  • Nicholas Gutteridge


    If as expected Michael Gove is moved across to Housing Secretary, that will create a new vacancy at the Cabinet Office.

    Steve Barclay, who is currently Chief secretary to the Treasury, is widely being tipped to take on the post.

    It would mark a return to Cabinet for the former Brexit secretary, who lost that job when Britain left the EU at the start of last year.

    Credit: Getty


  • Nicholas Gutteridge


    Michael Gove is now being tipped by Cabinet colleagues to become the next housing secretary, according to our Political Editor Harry Cole.

    He currently has a roving role within Government as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

    But the PM is now said to want to unleash his famed zeal for reform on the nation's housing problem.

    Meanwhile, Harry reports embattled home secretary Priti Patel is safe in her job despite being tipped by some for the axe.

  • Nicholas Gutteridge


    Housing secretary Robert Jenrick is the latest Cabinet minister to be axed by Boris Johnson.

    In a tweet confirming the news he vowed to continue supporting the PM from the back benches.

  • Jack Elsom


    By Jack Elsom, Political Reporter

    That Gavin Williamson has been sacked will come as a shock to nobody.

    In his two years as Education Secretary he has presided over one of the most chaotic periods of British schooling in modern history.

    He just about managed to cling to his job following last year's algorithm fiasco that made him public enemy number one in the eyes of many students.

    But his fate was sealed with hated policies like school bubbles and a series of PR blunders like his recent mistaking of Maro Itoje for Marcus Rashford.

    For the man dubbed "gaffe-a-day Gavin" by his critics, the gaffes just piled too high.

    Credit: pixel8000

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