Rishi Sunak was all smiles this morning as Boris Johnson gathered his new-look Cabinet in Number 10 and vowed to deliver on the ‘people’s priorities’ following a brutal reshuffle.
The beaming new Chancellor who was promoted yesterday following the shock resignation of Sajid Javid sat next to the Prime Minister as the premier congratulated his team of senior ministers for making the cut.
Mr Johnson then told them: ‘We are here to deliver for the people of this country who elected us to serve them.
‘The people’s government has to get on with delivering the people’s priorities and in the next few years we must get on with our basic work and you know what it is.
‘We are going to cut crime, we are going to cut homelessness, we are going to tackle waiting lists in our NHS and how many hospitals are we going to build?’
The Cabinet then replied in unison ‘forty’ as the PM proceeded to conduct further rounds of call and response on other Tory manifesto pledges.
The meeting in Downing Street came after a day of high drama which left Westminster stunned as Mr Javid’s unexpected exit totally disrupted the PM’s plans for a smooth shake-up.
Mr Javid chose to walk away from the government rather than accept a demand from Mr Johnson’s strategy chief Dominic Cummings to sack all of his aides and replace them with advisers chosen by Number 10.
His departure opened the way for Mr Sunak, 39, to be handed the second most powerful job in government having previously served as Mr Javid’s deputy as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
Mr Javid accused Mr Johnson of setting conditions ‘any self-respecting minister’ would reject – a thinly veiled swipe at his successor.
The move was seen as a power grab by Mr Cummings with Mr Sunak reportedly immediately under pressure from Number 10 to tear up his predecessor’s tight spending rules and allow Mr Johnson to splash the cash at the next Budget.
But the elevation of Mr Sunak has cast doubt on whether that Budget, currently scheduled for March 11, will go ahead amid speculation it could be delayed.
Downing Street refused to guarantee the date yesterday with a spokesman saying only that ‘extensive preparations have already been carried out for the Budget and they will continue at pace’.
Meanwhile, accusations of a power grab were likely to grow after it emerged that Downing Street immediately moved some of its troops into the Treasury last night to help Mr Sunak.
Boris Johnson convened his Cabinet in Number 10 this morning as he told his ministers they must now deliver on the ‘people’s priorities’
Mr Johnson yesterday conducted a brutal reshuffle which saw him sack numerous senior ministers and promote a wave of Tory loyalists
The shake-up saw Sajid Javid, pictured leaving his London home this morning, quit the government as he refused a demand from Dominic Cummings to sack all of his aides
Mr Cummings appeared to be in good spirits as he was photographed leaving his London home this morning. The PM’s top adviser declined to answer questions
Who is in Boris Johnson’s new-look Cabinet
Chancellor: Rishi Sunak
Foreign Secretary: Dominic Raab
Home Secretary: Priti Patel
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Michael Gove
Justice Secretary: Robert Buckland
Defence Secretary: Ben Wallace
Health Secretary: Matt Hancock
Business Secretary: Alok Sharma
Trade Secretary: Liz Truss
Work and Pensions Secretary: Therese Coffey
Education Secretary: Gavin Williamson
Environment Secretary: George Eustice
Housing Secretary: Robert Jenrick
Transport Secretary: Grant Shapps
Culture Secretary: Oliver Dowden
International Development Secretary: Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Leader of the House of Lords: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
Northern Ireland Secretary: Brandon Lewis
Scottish Secretary: Alister Jack
Welsh Secretary: Simon Hart
Attorney General: Suella Braverman
Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Stephen Barclay
Minister without Portfolio: Amanda Milling
Paymaster General: Penny Mordaunt
Chief Whip: Mark Spencer
That comes ahead of the creation of a ‘joint’ economic unit in the coming days which will be based across Number 10 and the Treasury and will be tasked with making key decisions, changing a power dynamic in Whitehall which has existed for decades.
Numerous other senior figures also left the government yesterday as Mr Johnson wielded the axe.
Julian Smith was unceremoniously dumped as Northern Ireland secretary just weeks after brokering a deal which restored the power-sharing administration at Stormont.
Andrea Leadsom was sacked as business secretary, Theresa Villiers lost her job as environment secretary and Geoffrey Cox was removed from his post as attorney general.
Esther McVey lost her role as housing minister, and the total number of women attending Cabinet fell from eight to seven – while the total number of ministers attending shrank from 32 to 26.
But there were a series of promotions for Tory MPs loyal to Mr Johnson.
Alok Sharma was promoted from international development to become the new Business Secretary and he will also be minister for the COP26 UN climate summit, which is due to take place in Glasgow in November.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan joined the Cabinet as International Development Secretary, having previously been a defence minister.
Oliver Dowden became a full Cabinet member as Culture Secretary, having previously attended the meetings as paymaster general, and George Eustice was promoted to Environment Secretary from his previous more junior role in the same department.
Brandon Lewis was appointed as Northern Ireland Secretary, while former Brexit minister Suella Braverman returned to the Government as Attorney General.
Ex-Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay has replaced Mr Sunak as Treasury Chief Secretary.
Amanda Milling was made Conservative Party chairman – a role in which she will attend Cabinet as a minister without portfolio.
Former defence secretary Penny Mordaunt will return to Government as Paymaster General in the Cabinet Office.
Mr Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel were expected to brief Cabinet on the UK’s new immigration system with ministers likely to be asked to rubberstamp the blueprint.
Leading ally of PM quits government after being asked to give up Northern Powerhouse role
Jake Berry, a long-standing ally of Boris Johnson, has left the government after being asked to give up his role as Northern Powerhouse minister.
Mr Berry said he had been offered another ministerial position which would have required ‘substantial amounts’ of foreign travel.
But the Tory MP for Rossendale and Darwen has three children under the age of three and declined the offer on the grounds that ‘family will always come first’.
He will now return to the backbenches. A successor for Mr Berry is yet to be announced by Number 10.
The new points-based immigration system could reduce the number of low-skilled migrant workers from European Union countries by up to 90,000 a year.
Under existing rules workers from the EU and European Economic Area countries can come to the UK to live or work without a visa.
EU freedom of movement to the UK is due to end at the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020 with the new system in place at the start of 2021.
Mr Johnson and Ms Patel have now decided on how the new system, due to be unveiled within weeks, will operate.
It will close the route for low-skilled migrants though short-term visas will be considered for occupations experiencing shortages.
Meanwhile, Mr Javid’s war of words with the new look government and the PM continued this morning when he was asked if he had a message for Mr Johnson.
Rishi Sunak, pictured right arriving in Downing Street this morning, replaced Mr Javid as Chancellor. Stephen Barclay returned to Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Suella Braverman, pictured left, and Anne-Marie Trevelyan, pictured right, were both promoted to the Cabinet yesterday
Matt Hancock, pictured in Downing Street this morning, and Michael Gove were among a raft of senior ministers who were kept in their existing roles in the Cabinet
Ex-Tory Cabinet minister Rory Stewart tweeted a picture of Theresa May’s final cabinet and pointed out that the vast majority were no longer in government
Scottish Tories name new leader
Jackson Carlaw has been elected as the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives, succeeding Ruth Davidson.
Mr Carlaw, who served as interim leader during the recent general election campaign, defeated Scottish Tory social security spokeswoman Michelle Ballantyne by 4,917 votes to 1,581.
His success in the leadership contest comes despite the Scottish Conservatives losing more than half their MPs north of the border in December’s election.
Ms Davidson quit as party leader last August – citing her conflict over Brexit and changes to her personal life after becoming a mother – but the contest to find her successor was delayed because of the election.
Leaving his London home, Mr Javid replied with a smile: ‘Happy Valentine’s Day.’
Mr Johnson reportedly moved to bring the Treasury to heel due to fears that he and Mr Javid could end up like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
The later years of the New Labour governments were dominated by the fractious relationship between Mr Blair and Mr Brown and Mr Johnson apparently did not want to repeat history.
Instead he wants to mimic the more harmonious relationship between David Cameron and George Osborne during their time in power.
One Number 10 source told The Telegraph: ‘The PM says the model for success is watertight cooperation between Number 10 and 11, like Dave and George, not a Tony and Gordon situation.
‘That has long been the belief. It’s all about delivery, the best way to deliver on the promises we made to this country.’