The post-Brexit reshuffle was meant to be Dominic Cummings’s opportunity to rip up Whitehall in an unprecedented reshaping of the landscape. However, it looks as though Boris’s team has now decided that such a radical overhaul may not be worth the time and political capital. Instead, we are now looking at a relatively ordinary restructuring of a Government that appears to be – for the first time in a while – loyal to its leader.
So, who will Boris be showing the love to this Valentine’s Day and who will be left out in the cold?
Ministry of Defence
Rumours of cabinet clashes have circled Ben Wallace since he assumed rank at the Ministry of Defence in June last year. The most recent tensions centre on the inclusion of Chinese telecoms firm, Huawei, in the UK’s 5G network, with reports suggesting he chose to side with President Trump over Prime Minister Johnson.
Is it time for the enigmatic Johnny Mercer to finally break into the inner sanctum of the Government? You may have heard that he’s a former soldier after all.
Leader of the House of Commons
The Leader of the House of Commons (more informally known as the “Honourable Member for the 18th century”), Jacob Rees-Mogg, was promptly removed from the public campaign in the second week of the General Election after a hideous blunder over the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
He was originally brought into the fold to convince hard-line Eurosceptics that Boris Johnson was one of them. But the landscape has shifted and Johnson now has the freedom to replace him with one of the 363 other likeminded Brexiteers; so don’t be surprised if he’s exchanged for an MP deemed more palatable to the wider electorate.
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12 months ago, Baroness Morgan was all but ready to leave the country should Boris Johnson become Prime Minister. Now Boris Johnson has a stable majority and control of Number 10 for at least five years, it may be time to appoint a Culture Secretary who has sufficient time to grapple with one of the most wide-ranging briefs in Whitehall.
The runners and riders for Culture Secretary change on a fortnightly basis, however, Cabinet Office Minister, Oliver Dowden is being touted as flavour of the week by Downing Street, but he will be run close by former Sports Minister and tireless campaigner Tracey Crouch.
The remainder of the pack
Any commentary on the impending reshuffle would be incomplete without at least a passing mention of Rishi “rising star” Sunak. The increasingly popular Chief Secretary to the Treasury is put out to bat for the Government whenever there is a slight whiff of a crisis in Westminster. A consummate media performer and former investment banker with a flair for centre-right economics, you would bet money on him becoming the next Chancellor of the Exchequer (although perhaps not this time around).
Finally, forming sparring partners Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have not always seen eye to eye. However, he was brought into the fold by the Prime Minister as a peace offering that was sweetened by the role of Duchy of Lancaster, importantly with oversight of the Brexit negotiations across Whitehall. Since then he has kept his nose clean and by all accounts impressed Downing Street. We could see the former leadership contestant take up a “CEO of Government” style role. Will Boris choose to keep his friends close and give his enemies a promotion?