The changes brought to Mr Johnson a chance to reshape the upper echelons of his government at a time when his popularity appears to be waning.
LONDON - Prime Minister Boris Johnson began a long-awaited cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday with the aim to revitalize a government that now seems to be declining in popularity.
Two senior ministers, Gavin Williamson , the secretary of education, and Robert Buckland , the justice secretary, confirmed that they had been removed from their posts, posting on Twitter that itit had been a privilege to serve in the government.
Much of the speculation about cabinet changes in recent weeks has centered on the Foreign Minister, Dominic Raab, whose job was considered precarious after widespread criticism of its handling of the evacuation from Afghanistan. His position was further diminished by his decision to delay his return from vacation as the Taliban took control of Kabul.
Downing Street confirmed the upheaval in a press release but did not provide further details. "The Prime Minister will day make a reshuffle to put in place a strong and united team to better rebuild after the pandemic," said a spokesperson.
A remAniement gives Mr Johnson the opportunity 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 agenda. 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 Britain will offer vaccine boosters to people aged 50 and over, and the first vaccines to people aged 50 and over. children from 12 to 15 years old. His government is determined to avoid further lockdown,but could resort to measures such as mask warrants if infections increase.
After a successful start to the UK vaccination program earlier this year, the Tories Mr Johnson's have surged in the opinion polls, but that lead now seems to be fading away. 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 services .
Critics have also complained about a lack of clarity on the government's main national pledge to 'level up', that is ie to bring prosperity to economically disadvantaged regions.
As the dry education After its withdrawale, Mr. Williamson had come under heavy criticism for to preside over a crisis in the results of school exams last year . Mr Buckland's tenure has been much more fluid, but his departure frees up a position in the cabinet for other movements.
But until now Mr Johnson had been reluctant to move or fire members of a top-tier squad that had initially been 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 some changes to his cabinet, notably in February 2020, when Sajid Javid has resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer after refusing to accept restrictions on his right to hire his own advisers.
Mr. Javid's job went 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.