Dominic Raab, reassigned as justice secretary and deputy Prime Minister, had been the subject of the greatest speculation as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepared to shake up his team.
LONDON - Prime Minister Boris Johnson began a long-awaited cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, reassigning his foreign minister and several other ministers in a bid to revitalize a government whose popularity now appears to be waning.
The biggest change came with the impeachment of Dominic Raab, whose position ion as Minister of Foreign Affairs had been considered tenuous after widespread criticism of its handling of the evacuation from Afghanistan. Mr. Raab was appointed secretary of justice but also received the title of Deputy Prime ministre, softening the blow of a decision that will be seen by many as a demotion.
Mr. Raab's position during the evacuation of Afghanistan was further diminished by his decision to delay his return from vacation as the Taliban took control of Kabul.
Three other senior ministers confirmed that they had been deleted: Gavin Williamson , the education secretary, Robert Buckland , justice secretary, and Robert Jenrick ,the secretary of housing, communities and local government.
The reshuffle gives Mr Johnson has the chance to reshape the upper echelons of his government ahead of a party conference next month where he will try to deliver a clearer post-Covid political platform. But with the number of coronavirus cases still high , the government is also preparing for the possibility of an increase in hospitalizations in the fall and winter.
Tuesday, Mr. Johnson laid out his plans to tackle the virus as winter approaches, saying Britainwould offer booster shots for people aged 50 and over, and early shots for children 12 to 15 years old. His government is determined to avoid one more lockdown, but could resort to measures such as mask warrants if infections increase.
After a successful start to the Britain's vaccination program earlier this year, Mr Johnson's Tories surged in the opinion polls, but that lead now appears to be evaporating. Last week Mr Johnson made a bet in breaking an election promise not to raise taxes so he can allocate more money to health and social care .
Critics have also complained about a lack of clarity on the government's main national pledge of"Leveling", that is, bringing prosperity to disadvantaged regions.
As secretary for education, Mr. Williamson was heavily criticized for presiding over a crisis in the results of school exams last year . Mr. Jenrick, as housing secretary, has been criticized after approving a real estate project involving a Conservative Party donor , and was in charge of an easing proposal restrictions on housing construction in England which was unpopular among some Tory lawmakers. Mr. Buckland's tenure has been much smoother, but his departure frees up a cabinet position for more.'other moves.
But until now Mr Johnson had been reluctant to move or fire members of a high profile team that had was initially selected largely from his own Brexit supporters and supporters, which Mr Johnson has championed.
Since his landslide general election victory in December 2019 , Mr Johnson made few changes to his cabinet, notably in February 2020, when Sajid Javid has resigned his post as Chancellor of the Exchequer after refusing to accept restrictions on his right to hire his own advisers.
Mr. Javid's work has gone to Rishi Sunak, who has become a leading government figure and a potential successor to Mr Johnson . However, Mr Javid returned to cabinet earlier this year as Secretary of Health when his predecessor, Matt Hancock, was forced to resign from this post in June.