Published:

Reshuffle 1) Truss becomes Foreign Secretary (and a future leadership contender)

“But Johnson was urged by allies to be decisive, and his promotion of Liz Truss as his new foreign secretary was a sign of confidence. She topped a recent ConservativeHome poll of party activists with a positive approval rating of 85, compared with 12 for Johnson. Truss was regarded as a success as international trade secretary, milking publicity from a series of post-Brexit trade deals, several of which are expected to have minimal economic impact. She will now become the relentlessly positive face of “global Britain”. Meanwhile chancellor Rishi Sunak, with a ConservativeHome approval rating of 74, unsurprisingly stays at the Treasury, meaning that two potential rivals for the Tory leadership now sit at the top of the cabinet table.” – FT

  • Trade champion out to show Brexit can work – The Times
  • High noon for ministers who fell short of expectations – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • Another first for Liz as she arrives at the top table – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: “He looked more than ever like Genghis Khan meditating a purge of his captains”

Reshuffle 2) Gove is denied a great office of state once again.  But his new wide-ranging role will be pivotal.

“Mr Gove has become Communities Secretary, meaning he will take charge of the major shake-up of the planning system that has triggered fierce Tory backbench resistance. Downing Street sources pointed out Mr Gove’s constituency was Surrey Heath, the type of southern rural constituency whose Tory MPs are voicing criticism about the plans, and vowed he would listen to concerns. Mr Gove will also continue his role heading up policy of the Union, not least countering SNP calls for a second Scottish independence referendum, and driving forward the Prime Minister’s “levelling up” agenda, more detail on which is expected this autumn.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson leaves levelling-up legacy with Housing Secretary – The Times
  • Prime Minister draws property industry’s ire over watered-down planning reforms – FT

More:

  • Raab ‘throws toys out of the pram’ after demotion – Daily Telegraph
  • Mordaunt leaves as Paymaster General as clear-out continues – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Profiles: Gove – denied a great office of state once again. But given work on which Johnson’s future now depends

Reshuffle 3) Zahawi comes in to sort education after Covid…

“Nadhim Zahawi, whose star has risen during the pandemic as vaccines minister, is to become education secretary after Gavin Williamson’s gaffe-prone tenure came to an end. Zahawi has been promoted by Boris Johnson after winning plaudits over the efficient and fuss-free Covid vaccine programme, a style that may serve him well in an education sector buffeted by Williamson’s more confrontational style. Theresa May appointed him as a junior education minister and he was moved to become industry minister 18 months later. In late 2020 Zahawi was picked by Johnson to be the vaccines deployment minister – a high-pressure role given the enormous significance placed on the rapid distribution of vaccines as the government’s main weapon against Covid-19.” – The Guardian

  • Rapid rise up the ranks for new Education Secretary – The Times
  • Rashford incident was final ‘nail in the coffin’ for Williamson – Daily Express

Comment:

  • He must tame the militant teaching unions if he is to save a generation – Janet Daley, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: CABINET RESHUFFLE: LIVE BLOG. Red Waller Clarke, punted by this site for Cabinet, is appointed Chief Secretary

Reshuffle 4) …and the Johnson loyalists get their reward: Dorries makes Cabinet and Trevelyan returns to it.

“One of yesterday’s biggest surprises was the promotion to Culture Secretary of the former nurse Nadine Dorries. A controversial figure, she will be an extremely robust voice in the Cabinet against the woke brigade. Back in 2017, she made clear her stance on the so-called culture wars in a memorable Twitter tirade. The ‘Left-wing snowflakes’, she said, ‘are killing comedy, tearing down historic statues, removing books from universities, dumbing down panto, removing Christ from Christmas, and suppressing free speech’. She added: ‘Sadly, it must be true, history does repeat itself. It will be music next.’ As for the BBC – which will be a key part of her brief – she said last year it was favouring ‘strident, very Left-wing, often hypocritical and frequently patronising views that turn people away’.” – Daily Mail

  • News of the appointment brought surprise and even some concern from Tory MPs – The Guardian
  • Soubry launches furious attack on ‘bag carrier’ Dorries – Daily Express

More media:

  • BBC chairman confirms Brammar hire – Daily Mail
  • Dacre ‘should be banned from reapplying’ as Ofcom chair, says Tory MP – The Guardian

>Today: David Skelton in Comment: Why a lack of dogma is Johnson’s strength, not a weakness

Reshuffle 5) Dowden is sent to CCHQ to sort it out

“Conservative party staff were told by Oliver Dowden, the new co-chairman, on Wednesday night to start preparing for a general election which could be in as little as 20 months’ time. Oliver Dowden, who was moved from Culture Secretary in the reshuffle, walked into Tory HQ on Matthew Parker Street in Westminster shortly after leaving Downing Street, and addressed party staff. “You can’t fatten a pig on market day,” he said, days after MPs started debating a law to scrap a requirement to hold elections every five years… Mr Dowden’s priority will be to ensure that the party’s election organisation is ready for the expected general election that must be held before the end of 2024.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson lays groundwork for general election with ruthless reshuffle – The Guardian

Comment:

  • Vanilla reshuffle has left strong players on the backbench – Camilla Tominey, Daily Telegraph
  • Reshuffle signals need for serious action on levelling-up – Robert Shrimsley, FT

Javid fails to rule out introducing Covid passports for visits to the pub

“Sajid Javid last night refused to rule out the introduction of vaccine passports for pubs if the pandemic gets worse. Although the ‘winter plan’ for Covid suggests vaccine passports only for large events, the Health Secretary refused to rule them out for smaller venues like pubs ‘if something happens’. He was speaking following the publication of the measures to get Britain through winter without needing to resort to another lockdown. The strategy contained a ‘Plan B’ – including the return of face masks, vaccine passports and working from home – should the virus start to surge. Mr Javid said this could kick in if the number people being hospitalised with Covid threatened to overwhelm the NHS.” – Daily Mail

  • Ministers are considering whether to set out a list of factors to be taken into account when deciding – The Times

More:

  • Health Secretary slaps down SAGE warning of 7k Covid hospital admissions a day – The Sun
  • Economy faces new pingdemic (if the gloom squad get their way) – Daily Mail
  • Councils fear social care reforms will fall apart – The Times

>Yesterday:

Submarine pact with Australia against China

“Britain and the US will help Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines as part of a strategic alliance created in the face of an increasingly provocative China. In a joint statement, Boris Johnson, President Biden and Scott Morrison, the Australian prime minister, said last night: “We will leverage expertise from the United States and the United Kingdom, building on the two countries’ submarine programmes to bring an Australian capability into service at the earliest achievable date.” The pact comes as antagonism between the US and China deepens, with Biden dragooning allies into a more robust posture at a Nato meeting in June. It is likely to cause further friction between China and the West.” – The Times

  • Britain will help Australia build nuclear-powered submarines – Daily Telegraph
  • Beijing denounces ‘Cold War mentality’ – Daily Mail
  • US’s Asian allies welcome Australia security pact in face of assertive China – FT
  • Wallace ‘squirms’ after Australia alliance could threaten French migrant agreement – Daily Express

More:

  • Johnson and Biden will meet at the White House ‘to discuss China, climate change and Covid’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Garvan Walshe’s column: Leaving Afghanistan won’t stop terrorists using failed states. How can we learn from our mistakes?

>Yesterday: Benedict Rogers in Comment: How Parliament, and Tower Hamlets Council, are leading the way on standing up to China

More than 100 government buildings to close as civil servants shun return to the office

“More than 100 Government buildings will be closed as civil servants switch to permanent flexible home working and quit London. Whitehall chiefs have identified more than 100 leases on properties in London that could be axed, including the Ministry of Justice HQ in Petty France, central London, as civil servants move to regional offices and adopt more flexible working from home. Most Whitehall departments have staff on rotas coming in two or three times a week, although it has emerged that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) only has staff coming in one day a week.” – Daily Telegraph

Cummings knocked back by watchdogs over secretive new job

“Dominic Cummings has been rebuffed by watchdogs over a mystery job. The former No10 aide wanted clearance for a new consultancy role. Now the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba), has refused to reply to his request for advice on a new secret role – which was redacted from the letters – as he’s not got back to them about his substack blog. But he was knocked back by the committee which OKs such work for former top civil servants. It refused to advise him because he previously failed to ask permission to write a paid-for blog. In a letter to the Cabinet Office from Cat Marshall, the committee secretariat, blasted: “This failure to seek and await the committee’s advice was a breach of the rules reported to the Cabinet Office in July.” – The Sun

  • Details of the work and for whom were redacted in correspondence between Acoba and the Cabinet Office – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Muddle over jabs for kids shows just how far we’ve come since ‘Hands, Face, Space’ – Henry Hill, CapX
  • The toxic war over teenage vaccines – Victoria Smith, UnHerd
  • Natalism for progressives – Jeremy Driver, Works in Progress
  • Remembering Norm Macdonald – Ben Sixsmith, The Critic
  • Yousaf has revealed a dark truth about the SNP – Alex Massie, The Spectator