THERE is widespread speculation that Boris Johnson is set for a pre-Conservative conference Cabinet reshuffle after today’s PMQs.
Asked yesterday if there would be big changes among ministers at the Downing Street press conference, the Prime Minister did not rule it out.
Many journalists at Westminster are confident that the reshuffle will begin after PMQs at midday.
The ministers at most risk are Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who faced heavy criticism over his handling of the Afghanistan situation, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, one of the least popular government figures among his own party, and Home Secretary Priti Patel.
It was recently reported that Patel met airlines and the boss of a hotel company without officials being present, although ministerial rules state that officials must be there when government business is discussed. A spokesperson for the Home Secretary said her “relevant external meetings” would be pushed in “the usual way in accordance with the ministerial code”.
Patel has also faced bullying allegations, while Johnson is reportedly unhappy with her handling of the number of migrant boats crossing the Channel. It is rumoured that Johnson could appoint Michael Gove, currently Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Cabinet Office minister, to home secretary, replacing Patel.
Last week it was floated by Sky News that Alister Jack, currently Scottish Secretary, could be moved to the chief whip position.
In that case there would be few options for his replacement, as it would leave five Scottish Tory MPs – one of whom, David Mundell, was already fired as Scottish secretary when Johnson came to power.
Andrew Bowie, David Duguid, John Lamont and Douglas Ross are all therefore on the table, though Ross is already an MP, an MSP, leader of the Scottish Conservatives and a football linesman.
Ruth Davidson could potentially be brought into government, since being gifted a peerage by Johnson and officially entering the House of Lords this summer.
However, the former Scottish Tory chief previously ruled out taking on the Scottish secretary job – telling Times Radio that Jack was doing his job “very well”.
“I promised my partner when I stepped away two years ago that I wouldn’t do any big jobs until my son – and if we’re blessed with any other younger brothers or sisters for them – are in school,” she told listeners.
“And I intend to keep that promise.”
Have your say below – what do you think will happen?