In a cabinet reshuffle, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom demotes the Foreign Secretary.
Following problems over Covid, Afghanistan, and taxation, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed a new-look cabinet on Wednesday, demoting his under-fire foreign minister.
Downing Street revealed that Dominic Raab has been demoted to the position of justice secretary, but that he will maintain the title of deputy prime minister.
The former lawyer, who stood in for Johnson while he was hospitalized with Covid-19 in April of last year, has been chastised for his handling of the Afghan problem.
Since Britain’s formal exit from the European Union in January, he has been replaced by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, who has negotiated a number of agreements.
She is only the second female foreign secretary in British history, and she is one of six women in Johnson’s 23-member team, up from five previously but still behind his recent predecessors’ cabinets.
The prime minister wrote, “The cabinet I have appointed today will work diligently to unite and level up the entire country.”
“We will recover more quickly from the pandemic and meet your objectives. Now let’s get down to business.”
Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, who oversaw big-spending economic aid during the outbreak, and hardline interior minister Priti Patel both kept their jobs.
Meanwhile, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson was fired after a series of gaffes. He said it had been a “pleasure” to serve in his position since Johnson assumed office in 2019 on a promise to “get Brexit done.”
The Conservative administration has been trying to manage one of the world’s greatest per-capita death tolls from the virus now that Britain has finally left the EU after a years-long divorce process.
After Britain led the Western world in widespread inoculation, Johnson had a “vaccine boost,” but the Conservatives’ lead over the main opposition Labour Party has shrunk in subsequent opinion polls.
Johnson introduced a new charge last week to fund the troubled state-run National Health Service (NHS) and aged care, breaking an election vow not to raise taxes.
Johnson this week announced a proposal to restore pandemic limitations if necessary, enraging some Conservative right-wingers, in order to avoid a new crisis for the NHS heading into what might be a challenging winter.
He’s also been chastised for not fleshing out his “levelling up” strategy to rebalance growth in poor areas of the country, especially previous Labour strongholds in northern England.
As he was replaced, Brexit point man Michael Gove took on cabinet responsibility for leveling up. Brief News from Washington Newsday.