/Cabinet reshuffle LIVE: Boris Johnson kickstarts cull with surprise sacking

Cabinet reshuffle LIVE: Boris Johnson kickstarts cull with surprise sacking

Mr Smith arrived at the Prime Minister’s office at the House of Commons earlier this morning, and was expected to be one of the biggest casualties of the changes from the Prime Minister. Following his meeting with Mr Johnson, he tweeted: “Serving the people of Northern Ireland has been the biggest privilege. I am extremely grateful to @BorisJohnson for giving me the chance to serve this amazing part of our country.

“The warmth & support from people across NI has been incredible. Thank you so much.”

Mr Smith’s is seen as a surprise as he was instrumental in securing a power-sharing deal at Storming last month.

But The Times has reported Mr Johnson was said to have felt “blindsided” by the deal.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom, Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox and Housing Minister Esther McVey also arrived at the Commons for a meeting with the Prime Minister.

They are all under pressure to remain in their positions, and had also been tipped as major casualties of the Cabinet reshuffle.

FOLLOW BELOW FOR LIVE UPDATES ON THE CABINET RESHUFFLE:

cabinet reshuffle boris johnson

Cabinet reshuffle LIVE: Boris Johnson is set to wield the axe to prepare for the long-term (Image: GETTY)

10.04am update: Andrea Leadsom sacked as Business Secretary

She tweeted: “It has been a real privilege to serve in Government for the last six years, and in @beisgovuk for six months.

“I now look forward to focusing on my constituents and on my 20+ year campaign to see every baby get the best start in life.

“I’m particularly proud of my work in BEIS on net zero and the #CountDowntoCOP and on making the UK the best place in the world to work and to grow a business. Huge thanks to my brilliant team in @BEISGovUK.

“I will continue from the back benches to work to ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”

9.59am update: Esther McVey ‘relieved of duties’

The Housing Minister has left the Government – just seven months after she was a contender to become the next Conservative leader and Prime Minister.

She tweeted: “I’m very sorry to be relieved of my duties as Housing Minister.

“I wish my successor the very best & every success.

“I’m very grateful to the Prime Minister for having given me the opportunity to serve in his government & he will continue to have my support from the back benches.”

9.51am update: Smith’s sacking ‘will not be well received across NI’

BBC News Northern Ireland Political Editor Jayne McCormack tweeted: “This will not be received well across NI, nor in Dublin where Mr Smith had forged warm relations with Simon Coveney.

“Understand he v much wanted to stay in the role – clearly PM felt now Stormont is back it was time to cut him loose.”

Sky News Senior Ireland Correspondent David Blevins also tweeted: “Five weeks after co-brokering the deal to restore power-sharing, @JulianSmithUK, the most effective Northern Ireland Secretary for years has been sacked. Go figure.”

cabinet reshuffle esther mcvey

Cabinet reshuffle LIVE: Esther McVey tweeted she had been ‘relieved’ of her duties (Image: @EstherMcVey1 / Twitter)

9.42am update: Cabinet cull could be over

Boris Johnson is due to be returning to Downing Street shortly, suggesting the sackings from his Cabinet have ended.

The Telegraph’s Associate Editor Camilla Tominey tweeted: “PM’s police motorcycle outriders appear to be preparing to leave.

“Looks like the action soon switching to Downing Street.”

9.39am update: Theresa May’s former chief of staff pays tribute to Julian Smith

Gavin Barwell tweeted in reply to Mr Smith’s earlier message: “You should be proud @JulianSmithUK of what you achieved.

“Restoring government to a part of our country that had been without it for far too long a significant achievement.

“You leave government with your reputation enhanced.”

9.37am update: Universities Minister leaves Government

Chris Skidmore is the next to go, saying he would have “more time to spend” with his family.

But it is not clear if he resigned or was sacked.

Mr Skidmore tweeted: “Got a promotion in the #reshuffle to be a better Dad with more time to spend with this gorgeous little one.

“Thanks everyone who I’ve had the chance to work with and the civil service teams that have supported me- you have all been amazing.”

9.34am update: Esther McVey next to meet Boris Johnson

The Housing Minister is the next to arrive at Boris Johnson’s office.

She could be replaced by Stephen Barclay, according to reports.

The Guardian’s Political Correspondent Kate Procter tweeted: “Esther McVey walks to the PMs office. Has a smile as usual.

“Quite serene for someone who is possibly out the cabinet. Steven Barclay also spotted.”

9.26am update: Julian Smith sacked as Northern Ireland Secretary

He tweeted: “Serving the people of Northern Ireland has been the biggest privilege.

“I am extremely grateful to @BorisJohnson for giving me the chance to serve this amazing part of our country.

“The warmth & support from people across NI has been incredible. Thank you so much.”

9.22am Villiers next to arrive at Prime Minister’s office

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers has followed Geoffrey Cox into a meeting with Boris Johnson.

There are a number of candidates tipped to replace her, including Steve Barclay, George Eustice and Mark Spencer.

cabinet reshuffle julian smith

cabinet reshuffle LIVE: Julian Smith confiormed he had been sacked as Northern Ireland Secretary (Image: @JulianSmithUK / Twitter)

9.19am update: Cox finishes meeting with PM, leading to speculation he’s been sacked

Geoffrey Cox “emerges from the direction of the PM’s office”, The Time Deputy Political Editor Steven Swinford has tweeted.

Mr Swinford added: “He’s not saying anything but we believe he’s just been sacked.”

But The Telegraph’s Associate Editor Camilla Tominey tweeted: “Geoffrey Cox has just emerged.

“Wait for the Prime Minister” he just told me. Did it go okay? “It went fine,” he said looking surprisingly chipper.

The Attorney General had previously said: “Have I had enough of the job? Let me make plain: absolutely not. This has been one of the greatest, in fact the greatest honour of my professional life.

But he added: ”If you gave me the opportunity to continue I would embrace it eagerly but equally if it is not to be, well then there are other doorways that will open for me.”

9.06am update: Jacob Rees-Mogg also arrives at the Commons early

The Commons Leader has arrived at the House of Commons, sparking speculation he could be a casualty of the Cabinet reshuffle.

But Mr Rees-Mogg assured The Telegraph Associate Editor Camilla Tominey he is just in early to prepare for questions from MPs 10.30am.

8.55am update: Under pressure Leadsom arrives at the Commons

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom has arrived at the House of Commons, Telegraph Associate Editor Camilla Tominey has tweeted.

Ms Leadsom refused to comment when asked how confident she is feeling at keeping her job.

There is speculation she could be one of the highest profile casualties of the Cabinet reshuffle.

Ms Leadsom could be replaced by be replaced by International Development Secretary Alok Sharma, who is in line for a promotion.

8.43am update: Dominic Cummings taunts Cabinet ahead of reshuffle saying cartoons could do better job

Boris Johnson’s maverick senior aide ridiculed the Cabinet by claiming a trio of cartoon superheroes would do a better job than the lot of them.

In a baffling exchange with a television reporter, Dominic Cummings repeatedly referenced the Disney crime fighting PJ Masks gang and said they would outperform the Prime Minister’s top team.

But the comments are likely to be viewed as less than amusing by senior ministers as a number face the axe in a reshuffle tomorrow.

It is believed Mr Cummings’ desire for a massive shake-up of Whitehall and the Cabinet has been rebuffed in favour of a more modest overhaul.

Mr Cummings has also been a long term opponent of the controversial HS2 rail link the Prime Minister backed yesterday.

Confronted by the BBC outside his north London home about whether he had lost his influence, Mr Cummings replied: “I think we need PJ Masks on the job.”

8.37am update: Northern Ireland Secretary to be sacked?

The Sun’s Political Editor Tom Newton Dunn has tweeted: “Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith has arrived at the Commons for an early meeting with the PM – saying he expects to be sacked.”

Mr Smith could be one of the biggest casualties of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet reshuffle, despite securing a power-sharing deal at Storming last month.

But The Times has reported Mr Johnson was said to have felt “blindsided” by the deal.

When leaving his home this morning, Mr Smith said he “enjoys” servicing in the Cabinet as Northern Ireland Secretary.

He added: “We’ve done a lot of really good stuff. There’s a lot more to do but it’s up to the Prime Minister.”

cabinet reshuffle julian smith

Cabinet reshuffle LIVE: There is growing speculation Julian Smith could be sacked (Image: REUTERS)

8.30am update: Prime Minister begins Cabinet reshuffle

Boris Johnson’s Cabinet reshuffle has started, with the Prime Minister the most brutal part of the changes.

He has begun summoning ministers to his Parliamentary office to inform them they are surplus to requirements.

The meetings are being held there rather than in Downing Street to spare them the embarrassment of having the walk past the country’s media and be photographed.

From 10am, Conservatives will be summoned to Downing Street to learn which top jobs they have landed.

8.25am update: Michael Gove could be rewarded with Brexit responsibility

The Duchy of Lancaster is in line for a beefed-up role to take charge of implementing the final stages of Brexit and ensuring the process following the transition period runs smoothly.

He is unlikely to move department, but The Guardia have reported he could take on more responsibility as a kind of “chief executive” overseeing Brexit.

8.10am update: Who is at risk and who is safe?

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom and Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers are seen as likely to lose their cabinet positions, while Baroness Morgan has already said she intends to leave her role as Culture Secretary.

Chancellor Sajid Javid, Home Secretary Priti Patel and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab are expected to remain.

Downing Street has also confirmed Grant Shapps will remain as Transport Secretary.

7.50am update: Ben Wallace and Geoffrey Cox outline why they should remain in office

Defence Secretary Mr Wallace said: “I have been in this game long enough to know that British Cabinet reshuffles are brutal.

“It is at the decision of the Prime Minister who serves in his Cabinet.

“I have been there before, I have been in quite a long time, I’m keen to serve, I enjoy the job as Defence Secretary, I’m a veteran, I’m a northern MP, I was actually in the Army, so I think all of those hopefully qualify me, but who knows.”

Attorney General Mr Cox said: “Have I had enough of the job? Let me make plain: absolutely not. This has been one of the greatest, in fact the greatest honour of my professional life.

But he added: ”If you gave me the opportunity to continue I would embrace it eagerly but equally if it is not to be, well then there are other doorways that will open for me.”

7.40am update: Johnson to ‘set foundations for Government now and in future’

A Downing Street source said: “The prime minister wants this reshuffle to set the foundations for government now and in the future.

“He wants to promote a generation of talent that will be promoted further in the coming years.

“He will reward those MPs who have worked hard to deliver on this government’s priorities to level up the whole country and deliver the change people voted for last year.”

Original Source