Losing popularity and under pressure, Johnson changes ministers in the UK

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson demoted his chancellor and sacked his education minister in a major cabinet change on Wednesday 15. With this initiative, leaders are trying to revive their promise to correct a series of political mistakes and “raise” the level of economic prosperity. across the UK.

In the biggest change, Johnson removed Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who has faced criticism for delaying his return from a holiday in Greece when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan last month.

Raab will become Justice Secretary with the additional rank of Deputy Prime Minister. Despite the large title, it means an exile – the deputy has no formal constitutional role.

The new foreign minister is former International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, a Conservative Party grassroots favorite who has won praise for her work negotiating trade agreements with Australia and Japan since Britain left the country. union last year. Truss, who is the second woman to hold the position in the country, will also continue as Minister of Women and Equality. Anne-Marie Trevelyan has replaced Truss as Minister of International Trade.

There were no other changes in the first four cabinet positions, with Rishi Sunak remaining as head of the Treasury and Priti Patel as secretary of the interior. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace also kept his job. He was praised for his oversight work in evacuating thousands of British civilians and their Afghan allies from Kabul last month.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who has a key role in leading the UK pandemic response, also remained in his position.

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Johnson fired Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who has been criticized for his performance during the pandemic, which has seen long periods of school closures, abrupt changes in policy and the cancellation of major university entrance exams for two consecutive years .

Williamson was replaced by Nadim Zhawi, who served as Minister of Vaccines, responsible for vaccinating the country against the coronavirus.

Michael Gove, a longtime aide to Johnson, has been named Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. The department is key to Johnson’s goal of “flattening” Britain, spreading prosperity beyond the rich South that has been a traditional conservative stronghold. That pledge helped Johnson secure a major election victory in 2019 by winning votes in Labor-dominated parts of northern England.

Nadine Dorris has been promoted to head of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, a position that will see her grappling with thorny issues such as the future of the BBC with public funding. An outspoken policy that often made headlines, Doris was filmed in the reality show “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here,” by the Conservative Party to take time off from her job as a legislator. Australia.

Johnson made major changes to his cabinet shortly after his victory in the December 2019 election, when he removed lawmakers deemed insufficiently loyal or indifferent to Brexit support. This gave him a high-ranking team pro-Brexit, but critics say it has driven many ambitious and capable lawmakers out of government.

Johnson’s office said Wednesday the prime minister’s change would create “a stronger, cohesive team to better overcome the pandemic”. The cabinet changes are expected to continue on Thursday as well.

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Tony Travers, a political expert at the London School of Economics, said the timing of this reshuffle probably had to do with ending the worst of the pandemic. He said that, overall, conservatives in the government did well in elections during the pandemic, giving them a kind of “wartime emergency powers”.

“But with the return of normal politics, it is more necessary to have a stronger looking team of ministers and less likely to make mistakes,” Travers said.

A recent YouGov poll for the Times of London showed support for conservatives fell five points to 33%; The poll put the opposition Labor Party – for the first time since January – in the lead with 35%.

Johnson relies on the support of legislators in the House of Commons. “And the main reason they like him is that he wins the election and he handed over Brexit,” Travers said. “If he falls behind (in elections), it will be a disaster for him. Against this, it is important not to let Labor go too far.” (with international agencies)

About the author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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