Reshuffle Rumours: Here's Who Could Be In And Out In The Cabinet Shake-Up

Boris Johnson will reshape his cabinet. Here are the position set to change, according to the rumour mill.

Cabinet reshuffle latest:

Earlier predictions

Boris Johnson will on Thursday finally reshuffle his cabinet in what feels like the longest-awaited ministerial shake-up for some time.

The prime minister is expected to sack some female cabinet ministers but it is understood that women including Anne-Marie Trevelyan are in line for a promotion.

There will be no overall reduction in the number of women in cabinet - currently seven out of 22 - Downing Street sources have indicated.

And expectations of a Dominic Cummings-inspired radical reshaping of the cabinet and government have long subsided, with the most senior ministers expected to hang on to their jobs.

Johnson’s chief of staff doesn’t seem to care anyway, saying cartoon characters could do a better job.

So who’s in and who’s out, according to the rumour mill?

In line for the sack

With Brexit “done”, there is much less need for a Leave-supporting cabinet to back the PM in battles with Remainers who wanted to soften or even stop Brexit.

Accordingly, it is Brexiteers in a Leave-heavy cabinet who look most likely to be culled.

The bombastic Geoffrey Cox is widely tipped to lose his attorney general job, with Downing Street said to have grown tired of his grandstanding. He could however get some form of a reprieve if he is sent to head up Johnson’s commission to reform the judiciary.

Attorney general Geoffrey Cox chats with Defence secretary Ben Wallace outside No.10. Both are tipped for the sack
Attorney general Geoffrey Cox chats with Defence secretary Ben Wallace outside No.10. Both are tipped for the sack

Business secretary Andrea Leadsom is also widely expected to get the sack after warning of the dangers of a “male-dominated environment” around the cabinet table, in what will have been seen as a last-ditch attempt to save her job.

Environment secretary Theresa Villiers equally looks almost certain to get the boot with various Tories keen for her brief at Defra, a previously unglamorous department that will become absolutely key now that Britain has left the EU.

Trade secretary Liz Truss was another woman thought to be at risk but Johnson namechecked her in his big Brexit speech last week, leading some to conclude she could be moved rather than sacked.

Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey could also be on the way out but equally she may be given more time to prove herself, having only got the job in September.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace is a long-term friend of Johnson but was vocally opposed to the PM’s decision to grant Chinese tech giant Huawei a role in British 5G infrastructure and could go.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been hidden away from the public since he suggested Grenfell tower victims lacked common sense during the general election, but he is not being as widely tipped for the sack from his Commons leader post as you might expect.

Baroness Nicky Morgan is also definitely on the way out of her culture secretary job, having confirmed as much last week.

So who’s going to replace them?

Trevelyan is certain to be promoted to the cabinet and No.10 sources have indicated that Suella Braverman and Gillian Keegan will complete a trio of women in line for promotions, although the latter two may come in below the top level.

Oliver Dowden and Alok Sharma will also be promoted.

Defence minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan is definitely getting promoted
Defence minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan is definitely getting promoted

Away from the dead certs, Steve Barclay looks likely to return after he led successful negotiations with Brussels but saw his Brexit secretary role scrapped on EU exit day.

Barclay has been tipped as a potential replacement for Villiers at Defra, but a number of other ministers appear to want the job.

Chief whip Mark Spencer, who has a farming business, is thought to be one of those pushing for the job, while Chris Pincher might replace him in turn as Johnson’s head of party discipline.

Justice minister Lucy Frazer has been tipped for promotion and is a potential candidate for Cox’s job.

The Telegraph reported that Chloe Smith was in line for a “minister for the union” job while Nusrat Ghani, already a transport minister, could land the new HS2 minister role.

Victoria Atkins, Helen Whateley and Kwasi Kwarteng have also been mentioned as potential promotion candidates.

Johnson also needs to find someone to run the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow after sacking previous president Claire Perry O’Neill.

Michael Gove has been mentioned as a candidate, but will he really take a job rejected by David Cameron and William Hague?

Zac Goldsmith might be a better bet, while Gove could get a beefed up role in the next stage of Brexit trade talks.

Rishi Sunak is almost constantly tipped for big things but is now widely expected to stay in his chief secretary to the Treasury job.

What about lower down the ranks?

Johnson will attempt to create a pipeline for female talent to reach the cabinet by ensuring a 50-50 gender balance at the most junior ministerial level - parliamentary under secretary of state.

He will also ensure that at least 60% of the so-called “bag carrier” PPS non-ministerial jobs are held by female MPs, and will promote those from the 2017 and 2019 intakes to make a dramatic increase from the current 18%.

A No.10 source said: “The prime minister wants this reshuffle to set the foundations for government now and in the future.

“He wants to promote a generation of talent that will be promoted further in the coming years.

“He will reward those MPs who have worked hard to deliver on this government’s priorities to level up the whole country and deliver the change people voted for last year.”


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