The UK’s group of senior ministers who run the government will be joined by several new Remain-supporting politicians in a reshuffle by Boris Johnson this week, a newspaper close to the ruling Conservative Party claims.
Members of Parliament who previously supported staying in the European Union, or who backed Theresa May’s Brexit-lite deal in the past, have been tipped for promotions in Boris Johnson’s first cabinet reshuffle of this Parliament, taking jobs at the expense of die-hard Brexiteers, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Citing a source within government, the newspaper notes that while “The labels of ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ were binned as soon as we got Brexit done — no one mentions them now”, nevertheless several key Brexiteers were expected to be demoted in the changeover of jobs to be announced on Thursday.
Despite that, the change is expected to be much smaller than previously anticipated, suggesting the more radical tendencies of Mr Johnson have been tamed. This may possibly be seen as another symptom of the ongoing struggle inside Downing Street between two major influences on the prime minister, top advisor Dominic Cummings on one hand and his live-in lover Carrie Symonds on the other.
While Mr Cummings advocates a policy of comprehensively and aggressively changing government, Symonds is closer to being an establishment centrist, campaigning on green issues that have clearly already had a strong impact on government policy.
Of the changes in cabinet expected tomorrow, the Daily Telegraph reports:
Remain-supporting Chloe Smith, Oliver Dowden and Lucy Frazer are all tipped to be promoted to the Cabinet at the expense of Brexit supporting ministers like Geoffrey Cox, Andrea Leadsom and Theresa Villiers.
Ms Villiers, the Environment Secretary, is also widely expected to be sacked, leaving Home Secretary Priti Patel as the only member of the Cabinet who consistently voted against Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
Brexiteers including Mr Johnson, Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Leader of the House of Commons, all backed her deal at the so-called third Meaningful Vote stage last March. One Government source said: “The labels of ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ were binned as soon as we got Brexit done – no one mentions them now.”
Read more at the Daily Telegraph
The shuffle comes at the beginning of a crucial year for Brexit. While the United Kingdom has now de jure left the European Union on paper, in practice it remains subject to European courts and rules until the end of 2020 at the earliest.
In that time the government will work to negotiate a free trade deal with the European Union, and the outcome of that will decide whether in the long term, Britain will remain a de facto shadow member state, or will break away for good.
It remains unclear whether such a deal would be possible. Comments from EU negotiators make clear they expect to retain significant control over the UK government in future in return for a deal.