BORIS JOHNSON has been warned the more members of the current Cabinet he sacks the more “enemies” he will find at his back later in his leadership.
Boris Johnson took office on Wednesday following his overwhelming victory against Jeremy Hunt during the Tory leadership contest. The new Prime Minister was quick to follow the confirmation of his appointment with a “clear-out” of Cabinet, sacking prominent figures including Brexiteers Liam Fox and Penny Mordaunt. But Mr Johnson has been warned getting rid of a large number of frontbencher have him face off a large number of “enemies” later during his leadership.
Liberal Democrat peer Richard Newby told Sky News: “Most of them are expected but I feel sorry for Penny Mordaunt – she seemed to be the round peg in the round hole, she was doing a good job there.
“The problem is the more you sack, the more enemies you’ve got behind you – that’s the danger of getting such a big clear out.
“He has made a lot of promises, hasn’t he? Probably more than there are jobs so he’s got to get rid of anybody to whom he has not made a promise and that’s probably the biggest feature.”
Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt announced on Twitter she will not continue serving in the role under Mr Johnson’s Government less than two hours after the Prime Minister was asked to form a new Cabinet by the Queen.
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Mrs Mordaunt’s announcement was shortly followed by news International Trade Secretary Liam Fox had also been laid off from the Cabinet.
Dr Fox had previously disagreed with Mr Johnson over his trade proposals for post-Brexit trade arrangements, criticising the now-Prime Minister for promoting plans to adopt World Trade Organisation rules in the event of no deal Brexit.
Writing on Twitter, the former frontbencher said: “I am proud to have worked with a tremendously talented team @tradegovuk to boost trade & investment and prepare for Brexit.
“The world-class trade department we have built leaves the UK uniquely well-positioned to forge our new trading relationships beyond Europe and create a truly Global Britain.
“But we must first undertake the momentous task of delivering on the instruction of the British people and leave the European Union.
Damien Hinds and Chris Grayling quickly followed suit, with Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, confirming he also would not serve under Mr Johnson.
Mr Hammond, Rory Stewart and David Gauke kickstarted the resignation spree earlier on Wednesday after previously announcing they would return to the backbenches not to help the new Prime Minister pursue his plans for a no deal Brexit should a new agreement with Brussels fails to be struck.
Mr Lidington, effectively Theresa May’s deputy, wrote on Twitter: “I wrote to @BorisJohnson yesterday to congratulate him on his election, to wish him well & to say I’ve decided that after 20 yrs on the front bench it’s the right moment to move on. I shall leave the govt when @theresa_may offers her resignation to The Queen.
Jeremy Hunt also confirmed he would leave Government after having served for little over a year as Foreign Secretary. He had come into the role following Boris Johnson’s resignation in protest over Theresa May’s Chequers last paper in 2018.
After rejecting the demotion thought to have been offered by the new Prime Minister, Mr Hunt wrote on Twitter: “I would have been honoured to carry on my work at the FCO but understand the need for a new PM to choose his team.
“BJ kindly offered me another role but after nine years in Cabinet & over 300 cab meetings now is the time to return to backbenches from where PM will have my full support.
“I’ve been a cabinet minister for every hour my 3 gorgeous children have been alive. So whilst it may seem strange for someone who just tried to become PM (& is a terrible cliche) I have decided now is the time for the biggest challenge of all – to be a good dad!”
The reshuffle had Home Secretary Sajid Javid switch over to the Treasury, taking on the role of Chancellor from Philip Hammond. Brexiteer Priti Patel came in as Mr Sajid’s successor at the Home Office.
Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Rabb took over the reins of the Foreign Office from Jeremy Hunt while Andrea Leadsom was appointed as Business Secretary.
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd and Health Secretary Matt Hancock kept their position.
I am proud to have worked with a tremendously talented team @tradegovuk to boost trade