BORIS Johnson will finally reshuffle his Cabinet today following weeks of fevered speculation about who’s on the up – and who’s for the chop.
Downing Street confirmed the PM will overhaul his top team this afternoon in a long-awaited shake-up that will see senior ministers turfed out of their jobs.
Ambitious MPs desperate to climb the ladder were standing by their phones this morning as the Westminster rumour mill went into overdrive.
For weeks the PM has dangled the prospect of a reshuffle to whip rebellious MPs into line for a series of crunch votes.
Now – as he looks to reset his premiership with the annual Conservative Party conference in a few weeks – the reshuffle is finally on.
Read our Boris Johnson live blog below for the latest updates…
HE’S DOM FOR
Dominic Raab’s fate was sealed by his widely criticised handling of the Afghanistan crisis last month.
The foreign secretary initially refused to return home from his holiday at a 5* hotel in Crete to oversee the evacuation efforts.
He was accused of being asleep on the job and a slew of briefings against him then further undermined his position.
Mr Raab is also the de facto deputy PM – a job he could cling on to despite being demoted.
Here he is leaving the Foreign Office to discover his fate.
RAAB ARRIVES AT THE COMMONS
Dominic Raab has arrived at Parliament, where Boris Johnson will carry out his sackings.
TRUSS ON TOP
Trade Secretary Liz Truss is the most liked Cabinet Minister among Tory members.
A poll of party activists by the grassroots ConservativeHome website shows her net satisfaction rating as +85.2, ahead of Rishi Sunak on +74.5.
Bottom of the heap is Education Secretary Gavin Williamson on -53.5.
A minister under David Cameron, Truss is the longest serving member of the Cabinet and has been tipped to replace Dominic Raab at the Foreign Office.
DON’T GET CARRIED AWAY
During Boris Johnson’s premiership there has been much talk of the influence wielded by his wife Carrie.
The ex Tory comms guru famously won a power struggle with Dominic Cummings that led to the top aide leaving Downing Street.
But the PM’s official spokesman today insisted Ms Johnson had no sway in her husband’s decisions.
The PM is expected to call Cabinet ministers facing the chop into his Commons office first to deliver the bad news.
Doing so will spare them the humiliating walk along Downing St in front of the world’s media after losing their jobs.
Those set for promotion will then be invited to No 10 later on, giving them an opportunity to smile for the cameras.
Boris is set to reshuffle his Cabinet today, before moving onto juggling junior ministerial jobs tomorrow.
Larry the Downing Street cat, chief mouser to the Cabinet office, is keeping a close eye on the potential cabinet arrivals.
The PM will hop over here to carry on his reshuffle here later on.
The PM’s spokesperson confirms the reshuffle is now underway. He won’t go into when the PM first started to plan things… considering that they said yesterday there were “no plans” for one.
It’s currently taking place in the PM’s Parliamentary office, they said.
We can expect to see cabinet ministers and MPs going up the Downing Street path in the mid afternoon.
It’s expected that Cabinet ministers will be reshuffled today, and junior ones tomorrow.
No news on how long it might last either… buckle in!
TAKING IT FOR GRANT-ED
One Cabinet minister who’s showing no signs of nerves about today’s reshuffle is Grant Shapps.
The transport secretary is widely considered to have been one of the Government’s better performers during the pandemic.
While colleagues fret over their futures he’s been taking in the sights checking out London’s new fleet of river buses.
GAV IT AWAY
Gavin Williamson is said to have delivered a farewell speech to staff at his department just now.
The education secretary “knows he’s done” and will be axed in this afternoon’s reshuffle, according to HuffPost.
The gaffe-prone Cabinet minister had been widely tipped for the chop after a series of missteps during the pandemic.
Rumours have swirled that the PM is lining him up to replace Brandon Lewis as Northern Ireland secretary.
WHO WILL BE SITTING ROUND THE TABLE NEXT WEEK?
This is a picture of yesterday’s Cabinet meeting – but there will be some new faces soon.
NOT ON THE BENCH
Are Dominic Raab, the Foreign Sec, and Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary…
Work and Pensions boss Therese Coffey not there either.
Is that a sign they’re about to get the boot?
Boris Johnson appeared in buoyant mood this afternoon as he taunted Keir Starmer in the Commons chamber.
The PM teased that “panto season had come early” after Labour MPs jeered that taxes were going “up up up” under the Tories.
Conservative MPs erupted into fits of laughter, while Rishi Sunak also smiled as sat beside the PM on the green benches.
IT’S ON, IT’S ON!
A No10 source says: “The PM will today conduct a reshuffle to put in place a strong and united team to Build Back Better from the pandemic.
“Yesterday the PM set out his plan for managing COVID during the autumn and winter.
“But the government must also redouble our efforts to deliver on the people’s priorities.
“The PM will be appointing ministers this afternoon with a focus on uniting and levelling up the whole country.”
The MPs in the chamber are clearly buoyed by the talk of a reshuffle on the cards, and are keen to show their support for the PM.
Here’s Kate’s take from inside the House of Commons chamber.
CAN THE PM SEPARATE THE WHEAT FROM THE CHAFF?
Dozens of MPs are wearing wheat lapels today in a show of support for British farmers.
Labour boss Sir Keir Starmer wants to focus on Universal Credit today – as he’s got a key debate later on the same issue.
The opposition are pushing on ministers to keep the extra £20 a week boost which was put in place during the pandemic – but the PM is standing firm.
Sir Keir skewers him over the benefits shake-up, saying millions will be hit hard by the cut.
The PM raises the harsh taper rate for those on Universal Credit too, which take chunks out of income.
CHEERS FOR PM
Boris arrives in the chamber to cheers in the chamber.
Several MPs offer him their condolences on the sad death of his mum, Charlotte, earlier this week.
The PM is flanked by his Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and Priti Patel, the Home Secretary.
On the other side is Jacob Rees Mogg, the Commons leader.
Does that mean they’re safe?
DOMSDAY FOR RAAB?
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is battling to cling on following a bruising month in the headlines.
He came under heavy fire for failing to rush back from a luxury holiday in Crete as the Taliban seized Kabul.
Mr Raab insisted he was working tirelessly while on the Greek isle and snapped back at reports he was topping up his tan.
As First Secretary of State, he is the PM’s most senior Cabinet Minister, meaning its unlikely he’ll be completely sacked from the Government.
But he could lose the prized Foreign Office job – one of the top four “Great Offices of State” in Cabinet.
PM LEAVES FOR COMMONS
Boris is snapped leaving Downing Street before making a dash over to the House of Commons for PMQs.
He’s carrying a chunky red folder of briefing notes for the occasion… what other secrets could possibly be in there?
TIME FOR A GOSSIP
It’s nearly time for PMQs, which means we’ll get to see the Commons chamber packed with MPs hoping for a job, a promotion, or to stay in their positions.
Rishi and Priti are already there, looking relaxed, according to our Deputy Political Editor Kate Ferguson.
IS IT ON?
Cabinet ministers are getting twitchy – there’s a lot of speculation going around Whitehall this morning.
PLOTTING THE SHUFFLE
Here is the PM last night at The Sun’s Who Cares Wins awards.
Is he thinking carefully about which ministers he’s going to ditch?
GAVIN FOR THE CHOP?
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has been widely tipped for demotion – or outright sacking – for months.
Branded “gaffe-a-day Gavin” by his critics, the top minister was blasted for the chaotic exams fiasco last year and the hated school bubbles.
More recently he found himself in hot water for confusing Marcus Rashford with Maro Itoje.
But only last week the Prime Minister hailed his “heroic job in difficult circumstances” during the pandemic.
WHAT HAPPENS IN A CABINET RESHUFFLE
Boris Johnson is expected to launch his reshuffle this afternoon after his weekly session of Prime Minister’s Questions.
He will likely begin by sacking ministers in his office in the House of Commons to spare them the embarrassment of walking past the cameras in Downing Street.
Then he will return to No10 for the rest of the day to call in ministers one by one as he forms his Cabinet.
It will likely run late into the evening and junior appointments will still be made tomorrow.
BORIS JOHNSON CABINET RESHUFFLE COULD START THIS AFTERNOON
Westminster insiders are bracing themselves for Boris Johnson to start a highly-anticipated cabinet reshuffle as soon as this afternoon.
The prime minister avoided questions yesterday when he was quizzed about speculation of an impending shake-up of his top team.