A major government reshuffle is anticipated in Britain, following sudden exit of Lee Cain and Dominic Cummings this month and the recent appointment of ex-Treasury official Dan Rosenfield to the post of chief of staff.
Government insiders now speculate that Boris Johnson is eyeing a complete Cabinet shake-up and is eager to welcome some young Conservative MPs from northern constituencies to his top team, according to a report by Financial Times.
Among those “loyal” Tory MPs from traditionally Labour constituencies in the North and Midlands who are tipped for promotion are Treasury minister Kemi Badenoch and James Cleverly, Minister of State for Middle East and North Africa. According to the report, Health Minister Edward Argar has also proved his talent in the House of Commons and should anticipate a promotion to a more senior role in Johnson’s Cabinet.
“Boris isn’t thinking about bringing back lots of Cameroon people like Jeremy Hunt,” one insider told the FT, in a reference to officials who served under ex-Prime Minister David Cameron. “But he does see that several senior ministers aren’t pulling their weight and he needs to bring up his own allies.”
The discussions on the topic have reportedly been held with backbench MPs by Government Chief Whip Mark Spencer on behalf of the PM over the past two weeks.
Who is Up for a Change, Who is Up for Return?
It is now suggested that Johnson, who has been facing some difficult moments within his own party this year, could also appoint a new parliamentary private secretary, a role that can either be offered to Rishi Sunak’s aide Claire Coutinho or Sevenoaks MP Laura Trott.
One Conservative source also claimed that Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen, who is leading the Northern Research Group of backbench MPs, may become the new Tory chairman: “They need a strong northern voice to speak to the red wall and Jake is perfect”, referring to Northern and Midland constituencies that traditionally support the Labour Party.
Some also anticipate the return of former Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid, who was earlier speculated to take the role of Johnson’s chief of staff. However, the post has now been assumed by little-known banker and adviser Dan Rosenfield.
Javid left the government in February this year after a reported falling out with Cummings. But with the chief adviser now gone, reports have emerged that Johnson has been holding private conversations with his former staffer about a potential comeback.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Grove is also one who could anticipate some changes, with reports suggesting his move to the Department of Health amid an upcoming third wave of coronavirus next winter.
It is not yet clear when the discussed reshuffle will take place, as some expecting alterations to be made not earlier than next year. Other sources claim that the shake-up will happen after the local elections in May and only if Conservatives don’t get the desired results.