Savvy appointments with Cabinet reshuffle could regenerate Boris Johnson’s tired government

It was a reshuffle months in the making as consequences for bad performance finally arrived in Westminster.

So often reshuffles can seem tribal, leaders securing support from those they trust and ousting opponents.

Wednesday’s moves admittedly had some placating of allies, but generally saw better people appointed to jobs.

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First to go was education secretary Gavin Williamson, a man best known for threatening a school with legal action if it didn't reopen during a pandemic.

Michael Gove was moved to housing in the reshuffle.
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When he wasn’t openly fighting with unions or schools, the Tory MP was bungling exam grades (twice) and telling teachers or exam bodies why it was their fault.

A savvy political operator who helped get the Prime Minister elected, that Mr Johnson was willing to let him go is a damning indictment of his performance.

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He was replaced by vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi, a competent man who just does the job.

Another big scalp was Dominic Raab, sacked as foreign secretary, having gone on holiday during the Afghanistan crisis and then stayed on it while Kabul fell.

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However, Mr Raab will not have more time to sun himself, having wrangled three lesser jobs to make up for it, being appointed Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and justice secretary.

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It’s the equivalent of breaking up with someone, but insisting they should be happy as they are now a friend, a confidante, a buddy.

He was replaced by Liz Truss, in an appointment that will spark celebrations not seen since the Royal Wedding among Tory activists.

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Ms Truss sealed a series of significant in her current role, and is the most popular minister among members. Mr Raab is fourth from bottom.

The most radical appointment, however, is Michael Gove to housing, replacing Robert Jenrick.

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A passionate reformer, Mr Gove has previously overhauled the education system, with the Brexiteer possibly the only justice secretary in memory the sector did not despise.

Given the watering down of planning reforms and the general refusal in government to ever fix the housing crisis, a minister mad enough to try things can only be beneficial.

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Coming in addition to his Union responsibilities however, it’s hard to see either as a priority.

Elsewhere Priti Patel remained as home secretary, so maybe it isn’t a total meritocracy.

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