Raab still a key player in UK government despite demotion says No 10

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Raab Still A Key Player In Uk Government Despite Demotion Says No 10
The former British foreign secretary is seen as one of the big losers in Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle.
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Gavin Cordon, Sam Blewett and Patrick Daly, PA

Dominic Raab will continue to play an “important senior role” in the UK government despite his demotion from foreign secretary, Downing Street has said.

Mr Raab, who was moved to justice secretary, was seen as one of the big losers in Boris Johnson’s unexpectedly wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle.

The announcement that he was to be given the title deputy prime minister was seen as little more than a consolation after losing one of the ‘great offices of state’.

 

Downing Street refused to be drawn on reports that Mr Raab had resisted the change during a tense conversation with the prime minister on Wednesday.

However, Mr Johnson’s official spokesman insisted it had been a “planned move” and that the Esher and Walton MP’s new title reflected Mr Johnson’s continuing trust in him.

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“This formalises Dominic Raab’s position as the prime minister’s deputy – he will stand in for him at PMQs; it demonstrates his seniority within government and the trust the prime minister places with him,” the spokesman said.

“You can expect him to be involved in cross-governmental work when that is necessitated. It is clear he will play an important senior role in government.”

Liz Truss, the new British foreign secretary, arrives at the foreign office (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr Raab’s replacement by Liz Truss followed criticism of his handling of the Afghanistan crisis and his delay in returning from his holiday in Crete after Kabul fell to the Taliban.

Following the overhaul of his senior team, Mr Johnson was continuing on Thursday to reshuffle his junior and middle-ranking ministers.

Downing Street said that Penny Mordaunt had been replaced as paymaster general in the cabinet office by former solicitor general Michael Ellis.

Ms Mordaunt instead moves to the department for international trade. Meanwhile, John Whittingdale has departed from DCMS, where he was media minister.

In Wednesday’s cabinet changes, Gavin Williamson was fired as education secretary following his handling of the exams fiasco during the Covid-19 crisis, while Robert Buckland lost his job as justice secretary.

Oliver Dowden was replaced as culture secretary by Nadine Dorries, and he instead was made Tory party co-chairman, a role in which he must quickly ready Conservative staff for the next general election which could be in as little as 20 months’ time.

Michael Gove succeeded a sacked Robert Jenrick as housing secretary and was entrusted with a further key position in the post-Covid agenda by taking responsibility for “levelling up”.

Nadhim Zahawi was rewarded for his efforts in ensuring a successful Covid vaccine rollout with the job of education secretary, while Anne-Marie Trevelyan returns to the fold as international trade secretary.

Ben Wallace, who survived as defence secretary, insisted Mr Johnson did not sack any of his top team due to incompetence, and said the criticism of Mr Williamson in the media had been “unfair”.

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“He has removed people from government not because they’re incompetent, not because they weren’t loyal enough etcetera, which are often the narratives you see, but often he has to refresh his team and move people out the way,” Mr Wallace told BBC Breakfast.

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