UK's Johnson reshuffles ministers after taxing month
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been under pressure to resign from his post following a series of scandals, shifted the job responsibilities of some members of his cabinet on Tuesday afternoon.
The first announcement saw Jacob Rees-Mogg moved to a newly created position, losing his post as Leader of the House of Commons and becoming Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency in the Cabinet Office.
This was followed by changes in the whips’ office. Outgoing chief whip Mark Spencer was named as Rees-Mogg’s successor, with No. 10 announcing the queen’s appointment of the Sherwood MP as Lord President and Leader of the House of Commons.
Stuart Andrew was appointed housing minister, moving from his post as deputy chief whip.
Meanwhile Chris Heaton-Harris, who had served as Minister of State for Europe, was named Spencer’s successor as Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury – a position more commonly known as chief whip.
The whips’ office has recently come in for criticism concerning allegations that it put unjust pressure on Conservative MPs to support the PM amid the Partygate scandal. Whips are tasked with ensuring the business of each party in parliament.
Johnson’s rough start to 2021 took another turn for the worst last week as he inaccurately accused opposition leader Keir Starmer of failing to prosecute child sex offender Jimmy Savile when he led the Crown Prosecution Service.
The PM’s jibe prompted the resignation of Johnson’s own policy chief and long-term adviser, Munira Mirza. She was the first of six aides to leave in quick succession. Johnson had vowed to make changes to the way No. 10 operated after top civil servant Sue Gray’s Partygate report revealed “failures of leadership and judgment” within Downing Street and the Cabinet Office.