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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

UK: Ministers depart as Boris Johnson carries out government reshuffle

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By Euronews with AP

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in central London on September 15, 2021, for the Houses of Parliament.


Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in central London on September 15, 2021, for the Houses of Parliament.

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DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

A number of ministers are thought to be on their way out of the British government as Prime Minister Boris Johnson carries out a Cabinet reshuffle.

So far three ministers appear to have confirmed their own departures.

The first to imply he was leaving was Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, who made an announcement himself on Twitter. He was quickly followed by Justice minister Robert Buckland, while a Housing minister Robert Jenrick also tweeted about his exit.

Meanwhile, all eyes are watching prominent figures such as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Home Secretary (interior minister) Priti Patel amid rumours that they could be losing their jobs.

Raab faced strong criticism last month for delaying his return from a holiday in Greece as the Taliban took over Afghanistan. He has reportedly been holding a long meeting with the prime minister in Downing Street on Wednesday afternoon.

It was not immediately clear whether Williamson would be moving to another ministerial post after leaving education, but he made no mention of a new job so it looks likely he will be returning to the backbenches.

Williamson said he was proud of reforms carried out to education for over 16-year-olds. However, he has been heavily criticised for exam disruption, school closures and his department’s handling of the pandemic.

In his previous role as defence secretary, he attracted ridicule for famously declaring that “Russia should go away and shut up”, following the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

It was confirmed earlier that Boris Johnson would shake up his Cabinet on Wednesday, attempting to move on from a series of political missteps and U-turns.

His office said the prime minister would appoint “a strong and united team to build back better from the pandemic”.

Johnson carried out a sweeping government shuffle after his December 2019 election victory, sidelining lawmakers considered insufficiently loyal or lukewarm in their support for Britain’s departure from the European Union.

That left him with a strongly pro-Brexit top team, but critics say it shut many ambitious and competent lawmakers out of government.

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