Johnson to Assemble Brexiteer Cabinet that Reflects ‘Modern Britain’

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Boris Johnson is said to be forming a Cabinet with Brexiteers in top positions, whilst reports claim that he will be retaining some Remainers.

Mr Johnson, who won the Conservative Party leadership election with two-thirds of the vote on Tuesday, will be summoned to Buckingham Palace this afternoon for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II who will ask him to form a government. Later today, he will begin appointing his Cabinet.

The Leave campaigner is said to be demanding that all future members of his government accept a no-deal Brexit, though media reports that he will not be planning on an entirely Brexiteer Cabinet; instead it will be comprised of one-half to two-thirds Leavers. Sources told The Telegraph that the make-up could be less than two-thirds in an effort to unite the party.

UPDATE 6:30pm — “This is not a reshuffle, it’s a new government”

According to Sky News, there is not one minister left in Cabinet who was appointed by former Tory Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010, after the resignations and firings today.

The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg remarked that “This is officially the biggest clear out of Cabinet without a change of party in power — more than half of them gone — [this is] not a reshuffle it’s a new government.”

UPDATE 6:05pm — Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has left government

The foreign secretary has resigned. He said he was offered another job, reportedly in defence, but rejected it and decided to return to the backbenches.

Mr Hunt had voted Remain but then stated that he now backs leave. The final challenger to Mr Johnson, Hunt won one-third of the vote in the leadership election.

 

UPDATE 5:45pm — James Brokenshire, minister who fired Sir Roger Scruton, departs government

It is not know if the Housing, Communities & Local Government Secretary was pushed or resigned, but joining him in his departure were Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley and immigration minister Caroline Nokes, who were both fired.

Brokenshire was involved in the controversial sacking of philosopher and art historian Sir Roger Scruton after being smeared as a racist following the publication of misleading “partial quotations” in the left-wing New Statesman.

UPDATE 5:20 — Education secretary Damian Hinds has resigned

Mr Hinds announced: “It has been the greatest privilege to serve as Education Secretary. Thank you to the brilliant team… and thank you to everyone working in education and children’s care, for all you do. I look forward to supporting the government from the backbenches.”

This latest Cabinet firing or resignation — the ninth — leaves Mr Johnson more room to reshape the Cabinet, with reports that a high number of Leavers will be appointed.

Media later revealed that Mr Fox had in fact been fired. The former international trade secretary had challenged Mr Johnson on his assertion that the UK can maintain trade without tariffs with the EU under a no-deal Brexit using WTO GATT Article 24. Fox, whilst campaigning for Leave during the referendum campaign, backed Theresa May’s soft Brexit deal and Jeremy Hunt during the leadership campaign.

UPDATE 5:15pm — Liam Fox and Greg Clark resign, Chris Grayling also reportedly leaving government

Mr Fox, a Brexiteer who however backed Mrs May’s withdrawal treaty, announced that he would be “leaving the Government”.

The former minister, who like Penny Mordaunt also backed Jeremy Hunt in the leadership race, added: “I am proud to have worked with a tremendously talented team to boost trade & investment and prepare for Brexit.

“The world-class trade department we have built leaves the UK uniquely well-positioned to forge our new trading relationships beyond Europe and create a truly Global Britain. But we must first undertake the momentous task of delivering on the instruction of the British people and leave the European Union. I look forward to supporting Boris Johnson and the government from the backbenches.”

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark has also announced he is leaving the government, saying Prime Minister Johnson “is right to appoint a new team for a new premiership” while Chris Grayling, who campaigned with Johnson at Vote Leave, has also reportedly resigned, according to media reports.

UPDATE 5:00pm — Defence secretary Penny Mordaunt returns to backbenches

Ms Mordaunt announced this afternoon that she was “heading to the backbenches” from where she said she would give Prime Minister Johnson her “full support”.

The Brexiteer had backed Jeremy Hunt in the leadership race, and it has not been announced who will be replacing her.

Cabinet announcements are expected to be made this evening.

UPDATE 4:10pm — Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledges that “we will come out of the EU on October 31st”

Addressing media outside of his new office and residence of 10 Downing Street, Prime Minister Johnson pledged to “restore trust in our democracy and fulfil the repeated promises of parliament to the public” and leave the EU on Halloween, however still maintaining that he can negotiate a better deal with the EU.

Taking personal responsibility for delivering Brexit, after former Prime Minister May had blamed parliament on a number of occasions, Mr Johnson said: “Never mind the backstop — the buck stops here.”

He also called for more free ports in the UK, tax breaks for innovation, and improvement in animal welfare.

“We in the government will work flat out to give this country the leadership it deserves, and that work begins now,” he concluded.

UPDATE 3:40pm — Boris Johnson is now officially the prime minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The Queen met with her 14th prime minister for between 20 to 30 minutes where she asked him if he could form a government.

UPDATE 3:15pm — Theresa May officially resigned to Queen Elizabeth II

The Royal communication read: “The Right Honourable Theresa May MP had an Audience of The Queen this afternoon and tendered her resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, which Her Majesty was graciously pleased to accept.”

Shortly after, Boris Johnson travelled to Buckingham Palace where The Queen will ask him to form a government.

UPDATE 2:20pm — May ally David Lidington resigns

The de facto deputy prime minister David Lidington, regarded as one of Theresa May’s closest allies, announced his resignation this afternoon. ” I shall leave the government when Theresa May offers her resignation to The Queen,” Mr Lidington wrote, adding: “I shall do all I can to help new govt secure a deal to allow an orderly departure from the EU.”

The announcement came shortly before Prime Minister Theresa May’s final statement as prime minister. Media speculates that Mr Lidington’s role, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, will go to Vote Leave campaigner Michael Gove.

UPDATE 2:oopm — Rory Stewart, David Gauke resign as ministers, Tory Lord chief whip also resigns

There have been two more resignations from prominent Cabinet Remainers ahead of Boris Johnson travelling to Buckingham Palace to ask the Queen to form a government.

Shortly before 2pm, Rory Stewart, the international development secretary, resigned followed by justice secretary David Gauke.

Stewart, the Remainer darling who was knocked out midway through the leadership race, had rejected a clean, no-deal Brexit and said that the only Brexit deal he would back would be the thrice-rejected treaty backed by Theresa May.

In the upper house, the Lords’ chief whip Lord Taylor has also resigned.

UPDATE 1:35pm — Philip Hammond resigns

Anti-Boris, anti-Brexit cabinet ministers are resigning in the very last hour before Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister. Both Theresa May’s Chancellor Philip Hammond and her justice minister David Gauke, who both said they would be resigning today, have gone. We can expect solid announcements on Boris appointments through the afternoon.

UPDATE 12:00pm — Brexit Architect and Vote Leave director Dominic Cummings appointed to BoJo government

Dominic Cummings was the director of the successful Vote Leave campaign in 2016 and will fulfil the role of “chief executive officer” to Boris Johnson in Number 10.

Cummings was described by the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg as having a “huge brain and experience in govt”, but being a “highly controversial” appointment that could make some “v angry”.

Breitbart London reported in 2016 how highly respected Brexiteer Kate Hoey left the official Vote Leave campaign and joined Nigel Farage’s rival group over Cummings’ behaviour, calling him “strange” and accusing him of spreading lies about Leave.EU.

The original story continues below:

From the Brexiteer camp, ardent Leaver Priti Patel is set to see a return to the Cabinet, possibly as home secretary. Ms Patel, formerly the international development secretary, was fired by Theresa May for meeting with Israeli officials whilst on holiday without informing the prime minister.

It has been suggested that former Brexit secretary David Davis, who resigned from government over May’s soft-Brexit deal, could see a return, as well. Another former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab is also believed to be seeing a return to Cabinet.

Prominent Brexiteer Tories like Iain Duncan Smith and Andrea Leadsom are believed to be in line for Cabinet jobs whilst backbencher and chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) Jacob Rees-Mogg, who called for a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister May last year, is tipped to be given a role in government.

Hardline Remainer ministers David Gauke, Rory Stewart, and Anne Milton have all announced they would resign rather than either work in a Johnson Cabinet, or wait to be fired by the new prime minister, but Remain-voting ministers like Liz Truss, Sajid Javid, and Jeremy Hunt, who now identify as leavers, may retain a role in government.

However, it has been reported that Hunt — the current foreign secretary — will not accept a role as defence secretary, which effectively serves as a demotion. Truss and Javid are said to be vying for the position of chancellor, replacing the anti-Brexit Philip Hammond who will also be resigning.

Sky News reported this morning that Dominic Cummings, one of the architects of the establishment Vote Leave campaign, with which Mr Johnson was affiliated, is set to become a senior advisor to the incoming prime minister. ITV’s Robert Peston said sources told him Cummings would effectively be Prime Minister Johnson’s “CEO” — there will be no chief of staff — and will “help deliver Brexit in just 99 days — and reform Whitehall (his biggest passion)”.

Also joining the Number 10 media team from Vote Leave are Robert Oxley and James Starkie, according to The Sun.

As well as overhauling the Cabinet to promote more “Spartan” Brexiteers and retaining some Remainers to appease party Europhiles, this government is expected to promote more women and be the most ethnically diverse government in order to reflect “modern Britain”.

“Boris will build a Cabinet showcasing all the talents within the party that truly reflect modern Britain,” a source close to Mr Johnson told The Telegraph.

While Ms Patel, of Indian heritage, is a well-known and respected Leave campaigner, some of the “rising stars” from minority ethnic backgrounds set to be promoted include local government minister Rishi Sunak and employment minister Alok Sharma.

Early today, Mrs May is set to attend her final Prime Minister’s Questions before returning to Downing Street for her last statement. She will then go to Buckingham Palace to tender her resignation to the Queen, with the role of prime minister vacant for about an hour.

Mr Johnson will then be summoned to the palace and called on to form a government, after which he will arrive at Number 10 and will address the media at 4pm. After which, he will attend defence meetings and write a “letters of last resort” of instructions in the event of a nuclear attack.

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