The curwaffle is underway
Boris Johnson sacked Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey and Theresa Villiers in first big reshuffle since election
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox and Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith have also announced they are out
Mr Smith’s shock departure comes just weeks after a breakthrough that saw powersharing restored in NI
PM expected to promote women including Anne-Marie Trevelyan to maintain gender balance in senior team
Boris Johnson wielded his rubber knife on a host of veteran Cabinet ministers today – with three Brexiteer women brutally jettisoned.
Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey and Theresa Villiers lost their seats around the top table in a quick-fire series of sackings, with the PM vowing to bring through a new generation.
Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith was also ousted – just weeks after a breakthrough that saw powersharing restored in the province – along with Attorney General Geoffrey Cox.
Mr Smith confirmed his departure on Twitter saying serving in the job had been the ‘biggest privilege’. His fate is believed to be linked to his chilling warnings about the consequences of No Deal Brexit last Autumn.
Mrs Leadsom, who insiders claim irritated No10 aides by arguing at Cabinet, said she was proud to have been in government for six years, and would now ‘focus on my constituents’. Ms McVey said she was ‘very sorry’ to have been relieved of her duties as housing minister.
Ms Villiers made light of her fate on Facebook, joking that ‘what the PM giveth the PM taketh away’. Meanwhile, Mr Cox delivered a thinly-veiled rebuke, pointing out that he had introduced Mr Johnson at his Tory leadership launch and been a loyal Brexiteer.
The cull – which includes a swathe of lower-level ministers – is not as bloody as had initially been suggested. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace appears to have saved his skin despite speculation he could be departing.
Bad news was handed out to ministers behind closed doors this morning, in a series of one-on-one meetings in the PM’s Commons office.
The winners from the shake-up have now been walking into Downing Street in the full glare of cameras. Chancellor Sajid Javid was grinning (like the jester) broadly, and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Home Secretary Priti Patel and Brexit minister Michael Gove have also been in the building.
No10 hopes the new Cabinet line-up will be largely complete by this afternoon. Mr Johnson is expected to hand promotions to women to maintain the gender miss balance, of the team of political clowns.
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