Boris Johnson’s new Cabinet will meet at 8:30 this morning to start the battle for Brexit just hours after the new Prime Minister made his final appointment.
Names of new ministers continued to emerge until two minutes to midnight last night as Mr Johnson assembled his team after an unparalleled bloodbath of Theresa May’s ministers.
The Cabinet includes Dominic Raab, the new Foreign Secretary, as Mr Johnson’s de facto deputy, and also saw jobs found for the PM’s brother Jo and for senior Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Jo Johnson, the new Universities minister, and Boris’s staunch backer Mr Rees-Mogg, the new Leader of the House of Commons, were among those heading to and from Downing Street late into the night.
Priti Patel became Home Secretary and Sajid Javid was promoted to Chancellor in one of the most ethnically diverse sets of ministers ever assembled.
Michael Gove was also handed an influential job as Cabinet Office minister despite his turbulent history with Mr Johnson – and is expected to focus on contingency plans for Brexit as a ‘Minister for No Deal’.
Another of the former premier’s close allies, Ben Wallace, is Defence Secretary, while Liz Truss has gone to Trade and Theresa Villiers takes over at Environment.
Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson waves to the media scrum outside Number 10 ahead of his brutal Cabinet bloodbath which began on Wednesday evening and ran late into the night
Sajid Javid (left) has been promoted from Home Secretary to Chancellor, while Priti Patel (right) has become the new Home Secretary
The new Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg beamed as he entered the black door of Downing Street on Wednesday night
Esther McVey has rejoined Cabinet as a Housing minister (left, walking into Number 10) and Mr Johnson’s brother Jo Johnson (right) has returned to Cabinet as Universities Minister having resigned last year over Mrs May’s Brexit negotiations
Baroness Evans (left) remains Leader of the Lords while Alun Cairns (right) held down his job as Wales Secretary
Amber Rudd (leaving Number 10 this evening) has clung on as Work and Pension Secretary after humiliatingly recanting her call for a second referendum a fortnight ago and saying she could back No Deal
Rising star Alok Sharma has been appointed Department for International Development Secretary and Julian Smith the new Northern Ireland Secretary
Who is who in Boris Johnson’s new-look Brexit Cabinet
Sajid Javid outside the Treasury today
Sajid Javid: Chancellor of the Exchequer
Sajid Javid’s 18-year banking career that saw him rise to be a £3m-a-year board member at Deutsche Bank will stand him in good stead as he takes the reins of the UK economy.
The Remainer, who backed a hard Brexit during the Tory leadership campaign, is the son of a Pakistani immigrant bus driver who arrived in the UK in 1961 with just £1 in his pocket.
Javid, 49, was raised on Stapleton Road in Bristol, which was once dubbed ‘Britain’s worst street’ and described as a ‘lawless hellhole where murder, rape, shootings, drug-pushing, prostitution, knifings and violent robbery are commonplace’.
After attending state school and Exeter University he went on to become an investment banker for nearly two decades.
He has spoken about having mixed-race children with wife Laura and the racism he faced as a child, before politics and also when he joined the Conservative Party.
Mr Javid ran against Mr Johnson in the Tory leadership campaign, eventually finishing fourth. He is the most senior Remain voter in the Government.
After becoming Home Secretary last year, he made a push for No. 10 on the back of Theresa May’s resignation. But after being knocked out of the leadership race, he moved swiftly to back Mr Johnson and was widely tipped as the top choice to move to number 11.
Priti Patel in Downing Street today
Priti Patel: Home Secretary
The Essex MP – who was once an outspoken proponent of the death penalty – has made a remarkable return to the Cabinet after being sacked by Theresa May for lying.
The mother-of-one is back two years after being forced to resign over secret meetings with Israeli officials, including prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The 47-year-old Brexiteer became infamous in 2011 when she called for hanging to be reintroduced during her first appearance on Question Time, calling capital punishment a ‘deterrent’.
Mrs Patel’s Ugandan-Indian family arrived penniless in Britain in 1972.
They were forced to abandon a fortune in tea and coffee plantations as they fled the military dictator Idi Amin.
Her father, Sushil – which is also her middle name – ditched plans to go to university and opened a corner shop in Tottenham, North London, with his wife Anjana and his parents.
Mrs Patel, who has been married to marketing consultant Alex Sawyer since 2004, lived above the shop and worked most mornings behind the counter before school.
She was educated at a comprehensive school in Watford, joined the Tory party at 17 and studied economics at Keele University.
A former PR and policy adviser for drinks multinational Diageo she went on to work for the Conservative Party before being picked for her very safe seat in 2010.
After a spell working for the Conservative Party under former leader William Hague, the MP for Witham became a lobbyist for cigarette companies.
Mrs Patel was humiliatingly forced to resign from the PM’s top team in November 2017 in a 30-minute face-to-face showdown after being ordered to return from an Africa tour.
Her fate was finally sealed after two further secret meetings with Israeli officials emerged on top of the 12 that had already been revealed.
In her resignation letter, Miss Patel said she was ‘sorry’ to have distracted from the government’s work and for lacking transparency.
Dominic Raab, a karate black belt, is married without any children to Erika (together), a Brazilian-born marketing executive
Dominic Raab: Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State
The MP for Esher and Walton who studied law and went on to work as an in-house lawyer for the Foreign Office in 2000 has now been appointed head of the department.
The former grammar school boy, born to a Czech Jewish father who fled the Nazis in 1938 to Britain as a refugee before the Second World War, helped bring war criminals to justice in The Hague during his first stint in the Foreign Office.
Mr Raab is a karate black belt and former boxing blue at Oxford University in 1995. The 45-year-old is married without any children to Erika, a Brazilian-born marketing executive who was wheeled out for photoshoots in his leadership campaign.
During the campaign he described how his father Peter fled the Nazis and came to Britain aged six as he accused Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell of not standing up for ‘free and tolerant democracy’ that welcomed his dad.
His father learned English, worked for M&S as a food manager and met his mother Jean, who was from Bromley, Kent. He died when Dominic was 12 after losing his battle with cancer.
It’s a major promotion for Mr Raab, who has just four months experience in the Cabinet after a stint as Brexit Secretary last year.
He stood in the Tory leadership race on a hardcore Brexiteer ticket even harder than Mr Johnson. But after being knocked out he quickly backed his former rival and supported him in his campaign.
Mr Raab is in favour of a No Deal Brexit and replaces Jeremy Hunt. He will step into immediate fire with an ongoing diplomatic spat with Iran.
Michael Gove in Downing Street today
Michael Gove: Cabinet Office Minister
Seasoned minister Michael Gove who blazed a trail as a reformer in departments across Whitehall has been handed a role at the heart of government.
The adopted son of Aberdeen fishworkers already has four Cabinet jobs under his belt – heading education, justice and environment departments as well as a stint as chief whip.
While in charge of the nation’s schools under David Cameron, the Brexiteer pushed through a series of controversial reforms to the curriculum and axed the Building Schools for the Future programme.
But he was criticised most for introducing Free Schools – state funded schools which are exempt from teaching the National Curriculum.
Critics claim the schools take money and pupils from existing schools, increase segregation and division and lead to the break-up of the state school system.
As Environment Secretary he championed a war on plastic – introducing charges for plastic bags and doing away with single-use straws and cups.
He was a firm backer of Theresa May’s Brexit deal to the last, which damaged him in the eyes of the more purist Brexiteer elements.
Mr Gove had a tilt at the Tory leadership but came undone when revelations about his past drug use were revealed.
He admitted using cocaine when he was younger after it came to light in an unauthorised biography.
Mr Gove, 51, is a former Times journalist, 51, who has two children with newspaper columnist Sarah Vine. Mr Gove indicated that his drive to be prime minister is fuelled by a desire to show his parents they were right to take the ‘risk’ of adopting him.
Mr Wallace in Downing Street today
Ben Wallace: Defence Secretary
The former military hero who served in the Scots Guard and was mentioned in dispatches in 1992 has been named Defence Secretary.
The 51-year-old attended Sandhurst military academy after a short stint as a ski instructor and served for eight years in Northern Ireland.
The Remainer rose to the rank of captain and was mentioned in dispatches in 1992 after an incident involving a terrorist cell.
Mr Wallace – who also served in Cyprus, Germany and Central America – has been married to Liza since 2001 and they have three children.
He makes the step up to the Cabinet after spending three years as security minister – during which the country has battled a spate of major terror attacks.
His first call to action in his new role will be bringing about the return of the British ship seized by Iranian forces last week.
Mr Johnson has suggested he wants to boost defence spending and build more naval ships to protect UK-flagged vessels in the Gulf.
Gavin Williamson was sacked as defence secretary in May after leaking secret details of a meeting about Huawei
Gavin Williamson: Education Secretary
The state-educated South Staffordshire MP, who studied social sciences at the University of Bradford, has made an astonishing return to the Cabinet.
The former Defence Secretary was sacked just three months ago for leaking secrets from a National Security Council meeting.
But he was given the job of overseeing the nation’s schools as a ‘thank you’ from Boris for helping to mastermind his leadership campaign.
Mr Williamson has been dubbed the Cabinet’s Private Pike, after the hapless Dad’s Army character, for a series of gaffes while in the Cabinet.
His appointment comes just months after it appeared his political career seemed over when he narrowly escaped prosecution under the Official Secrets Act for the leak.
While Defence Secretary in 2018, the father-of-two confessed to a fling that at one time threatened to end his marriage with wife Joanne.
Not long after being promoted from Tory chief whip he admitted to a brief office romance with a former colleague. He said it was ‘a dreadful mistake’ but Joanne had forgiven him.
Mr Williamson, 43, who was made Defence Secretary following the resignation of Sir Michael Fallon over sexual harassment claims, insisted the relationship had not gone beyond kissing ‘a couple of times’.
It occurred before he embarked on a career in politics but he is understood to have revealed details to party officials when he first ran for selection as an MP more than a decade ago.
Mat Hancock remains as Health Secretaty
Matt Hancock: Health and Social Care Secretary
Matt Hancock stays in one of the hardest job in government despite aiming volleys of criticism at Mr Johnson while running against him for the leadership.
He told an interviewer ‘f*ck f*ck Business’ after the new Prime Minister’s much criticised reaction to firms’ No Deal Brexit fears.
But the married father of three, 40, did a superb reverse ferret to become one of Mr Johnson’s chief cheerleaders.
This included reportedly trying to block the release of a paper he commissioned which recommended taxes on milkshakes because it ran contrary to his new boss’s opposition to ‘sin taxes’.
He also poked fun at himself during the campaign after being caught on camera wolfing down a high-sugar stroopwafel ahead of an early-morning TV interview.
Last year he was accused of breaking ethics rules after he praised a private health firm app in a newspaper article sponsored by its maker.
But he has since made some hard-hitting interventions in areas like the impact of social media on health.
In May he joined Ms Mordaunt in backing the Generation Why? report showing that the Tories needed to become more relevant to younger voters.
He called on the party to change its ‘tone’ towards modern Britain or face Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister, in a speech widely seen as setting out his leadership credentials.
Andrea Leadsom was made Business Secretary, and Gavin Williamson – sacked by Mrs May over national security leaks less than three months ago – has been handed Education.
In a rare glimmer for the Remain wing, Nicky Morgan was brought back to the top table as Culture Secretary. Former Tory chairman Grant Shapps returns at Transport.
Other Remainer appointees included rising stars Rishi Sunak as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Oliver Dowden as Paymaster General, Robert Jenrick as Housing Secretary and Alok Sharma is the new Department for International Development Secretary.
Amber Rudd has clung on as Work and Pension Secretary after humiliatingly recanting her call for a second referendum a fortnight ago and saying she could back No Deal.
New regional ministers included Julian Smith for Northern Ireland and Alister Jack for Scotland, while Alun Cairns held down his job as Wales Secretary.
Geoffrey Cox (left) kept his job as Attorney General, while James Cleverly (right), a staunch Johnson-backer, has replaced Brandon Lewis as the Conservative Party Chairman
Newly appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak leaves as Larry the cat lies outside Downing Street on a roasting July night
Robert Buckland (left, arriving at Downing Street tonight) becomes the Justice Secretary and Grant Shapps (right, leaving Number 10) is the new Transport Secretary
Andrea Leadsom, who resigned as the Leader of the House of Commons in May on the eve of the European elections, has been appointed the new Business Secretary
Mr Johnson’s vanquished leadership rival Jeremy Hunt was summarily dismissed after refusing a demotion from the Foreign Office, while Penny Mordaunt – who backed the loser in the contest was evicted from the MoD.
Veteran minister Liam Fox, Business Secretary Greg Clark and Scottish Secretary David Mundell also went in a series of savage sackings which shocked Westminster.
James Brokenshire was given the boot despite having backed Mr Johnson for the leadership, and Chris Grayling left reportedly at his own request, to be replaced by Grant Shapps.
Firm Johnson-backer James Cleverly was appointed as the Conservative Party Chairman and Robert Buckland became Justice Secretary, while Jefferey Cox remains Attorney General and Baroness Evans the Leader of the House of Lords.
Brandon Lewis, who was replaced by Mr Cleverly, is now a Home Office minister, while Esther McVey – who resigned from Mrs May’s government – has rejoined Cabinet as a Housing minister.
The latest appointment came minutes before midnight, Kwasi Kwarteng – an ardent libertarian – being given the role of Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Gavin Williamson, pictured in Downing Street tonight, is tipped for Education Secretary in the new Johnson regime
Dominic Raab (left) is the new Foreign Secretary, while Michael Gove (right) has clung onto power with an influential role as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Mr Johnson (pictured in Downing Street today) has laid down a marker by appointing maverick Vote Leave chief Dominic Cummings as a top adviser
Boris’s brutal clearout
In a sign of the scale of the bloodbath, Mr Johnson’s rampage looks to have racked up around £280,000 in severance payments for the 18 fired ministers. But it has created one of the most diverse Cabinets in history, and Mr Johnson will hope they can unite to force through Brexit.
Mr Johnson had already laid down a marker this morning by installing maverick Brexit architect Dominic Cummings as one of his top advisers – to the horror of many Conservative MPs. A swathe of key figures from the Vote Leave team that won the 2016 EU referendum are being drafted in.
Mr Hunt, who was trounced by Mr Johnson for the leadership, said he ‘would have been honoured to carry on my work’ but he understood the need for the victor to ‘choose his team’.
He confirmed he had been offered a new role in the Cabinet by Mr Johnson but he rejected the demotion.
The sackings came after Philip Hammond, David Gauke and Rory Stewart all resigned immediately before Mr Johnson became PM, denying him the chance to fire them.
Stephen Barclay has been kept in place as Brexit Secretary, and Matt Hancock stays at Health – despite having been mooted in some quarters as deputy PM.
Mr Hunt’s supporters had urged Mr Johnson to keep the foreign secretary in a senior role in his new government.
But Mr Hunt suggested the offer he had been made by the new premier was not good enough and it was ‘time to return to the backbenches’.
He said: ‘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 9 yrs in Cabinet & over 300 cab mtgs now is the time to return 2 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!’
One of Mrs May’s former allies Ben Wallace leaving Downing Street today after he was appointed Defence Secretary
Two of Mrs May’s allies Liz Truss (left) and Theresa Villiers (right) are in Mr Johnson’s line-up. Ms Truss as the International Trade Secretary and Ms Villiers as Secretary for the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Matt Hancock has remained as Health Secretary despite having been mooted in some quarters as a potential deputy PM
Alister Jack, from Dumfries, is Mr Johnson’s Secretary of State for Scotland having previously worked as Lord Commissioner of the Treasury in the Whips Office
Ms Mordaunt, Mr Clark and Dr Fox were all reportedly fired by Mr Johnson as he made space to appoint his supporters.
The sacked defence secretary confirmed her departure with a tweet as she said: ‘I’m heading to the backbenches from where the PM will have my full support, as will my successors at [the Ministry of Defence] and [Department for Women and Equalities].
‘Thank you to everyone who’s helped me get things done, especially our Armed Forces and civilians in defence for the last 85 days. We achieved much.’
Her departure stunned Westminster because she was viewed as a lock to feature in Mr Johnson’s top team because of pro-Brexit stance.
Steve Barclay, another early backer of Mr Johnson, is staying as Brexit Secretary. He is pictured going into Number 10 this evening
Penny Mordaunt, pictured in central London yesterday, was sacked by Boris Johnson after just 85 days as defence secretary
Chris Grayling (left) is reportedly leaving the government at his own request. His time as Transport Secretary has been littered with blunders. Damian Hinds (right) was sacked as Education Secretary after a relatively low-key tenure on the frontbench
Maverick Vote Leave chief Dominic Cummings was spotted standing behind Mr Johnson (on the right hand side of the picture) as the new PM entered Downing Street and shook hands with Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill
Boris’s new Cabinet
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Sajid Javid
Home Secretary: Priti Patel
Foreign Secretary/First Secretary: Dominic Raab
Brexit Secretary: Stephen Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Michael Gove
Defence Secretary: Ben Wallace
International Trade Secretary: Liz Truss
Health Secretary: Matt Hancock
Environment Secretary: Theresa Villiers
Education Secretary: Gavin Williamson
Culture Secretary: Nicky Morgan
Business Secretary: Andrea Leadsom
Housing Secretary: Robert Jenrick
Work and Pensions Secretary: Amber Rudd
Justice Secretary: Robert Buckland
International Development Secretary: Alok Sharma
Transport Secretary: Grant Shapps
Northern Ireland Secretary – Julian Smith
Scottish Secretary – Alister Jack
Welsh Secretary – Alun Cairns
Chairman of the Conservative Party – James Cleverly
Leader of the House of Commons: Jacob Rees-Mogg
Leader of the House of Lords: Baroness Evans
Dr Fox, another supporter of Mr Hunt’s failed bid for the Tory leadership, said he was ‘sad’ to leave the government and described his tenure banging the drum for trade as a ‘privilege’.
Mr Clark said Mr Johnson was ‘right to appoint a new team for a new premiership’ and he wished him well ‘for the vital work ahead’.
Mr Hinds said he looked ‘forward to supporting the government from the backbenches’.
The scale of the sackings shocked even the most weathered of Whitehall observers as Mr Johnson chopped far more ministers – and more quickly – than had been expected.
Mr Johnson’s decision to boot out so many of Theresa May’s long-serving allies means he will be able to start afresh with his top team.
It will also allow a reset button to be pushed in a handful of government departments which have been beset by controversy in recent years.
Perhaps the most significant of those will be the Northern Ireland Office where Mrs Bradley’s tenure has been littered with missteps and the Department for Transport where Mr Grayling has presided over a series of blunders.
MPs reacted with alarm at news of Mr Cummings’ appointment.
One Johnson supporter told MailOnline he ‘lacks people skills’ and was ill-equipped to handle the pressure-cooker of No10. Hearing of the recruitment, another MP said incredulously: ‘Really?’
Mr Johnson once joked that he had more chance of being ‘reincarnated as an olive’ than becoming PM – but today he will realise his dream.
The new Tory leader – who as a child said his ambition was to be ‘world king’ – has been frantically assembling his new team as he prepares will take over from Mrs May this afternoon .
In a speech on the steps of Downing Street after being confirmed as PM, Mr Johnson vowed to keep his ‘do or die’ Brexit pledge in a bullish speech in Downing Street today after the Queen installed him as PM.
Watched by girlfriend Carrie Symonds outside No10, the new premier said he was honoured to have been chosen to take over from Theresa May.
Dominic Cummings: The acerbic Brexit mastermind not afraid to speak his mind
Dominic Cummings was the quiet yet acerbic power behind the Vote Leave campaign that propelled Britain towards backing Brexit in 2016.
While Boris Johnson and Michael Gove were in the limelight the 47-year-old remained in the shadows pulling the strings.
Born in Durham and educated at Oxford University, he over saw a campaign that totally outflanked Remain and which is widely credited with leading to the 52-48 result in favour of quitting.
Such was his central role he was played by Benedict Cummberbach in Channel 4’s Brexit: The Uncivil War last year (below).
He was the man behind the infamous ‘£350million-a-week for the NHS’ claim on red buses, and the ‘take back control’ catchphrase. However, a year after the referendum, Mr Cummings said it was a ‘dumb idea’.
But his success in the strategic role of the campaign saw his drawn blinking into the daylight.
A former special adviser at the Department for Education during Mr Gove’s controversial reforming tenure was later found in contempt of Parliament for refusing to answer MPs questions about campaign.
He declined to assist the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s investigation into claims made by Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie that the Facebook data of millions of users was illegally harvested and used to sway the Brexit vote.
He was once labelled a ‘career psychopath’ by former prime minister David Cameron, according to widely-reported remarks.
But Mr Cummings is no stranger to an insult either.
He described Mr Davis, then the Brexit secretary, as ‘thick as mince, lazy as a toad and vain as Narcissus’ in July 2017.
He has also turned his fire on hardline Brexiteers in the Tory European Research Group in one of his trademark lengthy blogposts.
In March he likened some members of the to a ‘metastasising tumour’ accusing them of ‘scrambling’ for top radio spots while ‘spouting gibberish’ since 2016.
As the street was bathed in sunshine, Mr Johnson said he would ‘honour’ the mandate of the 2016 referendum and prove the ‘doomsters and the gloomsters wrong’.
‘The British people have had enough of waiting. The time has come to act,’ he said.
‘Never mind the backstop, the buck stops here.’
He said wanted the ‘warmest possible’ relations with the EU, but would prepare for the ‘remote’ possibility the bloc refuses to offer an acceptable deal.
Mr Johnson also insisted that his plans would stretch far further than Brexit, and he would boost police numbers by 20,000, bring forward a new social care system and boost education.
Earlier, Theresa May arrived in the Commons chamber for her last PMQs to cheers from Tory backbenchers.
She said she would continue with her duties from the back benches.
Speaking in the Commons, she said: ‘This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others.
‘Following my duties in this House this afternoon I shall have an audience of Her Majesty the Queen.
‘I shall then continue with my duties in this House from the back benches where I will continue to be the member of parliament for Maidenhead.’
Last night Mr Johnson told a meeting of Tory MPs he would ‘love bomb’ his critics in an attempt to unite a party that has been riven by conflict since the 2016 referendum.
But installing Mr Cummings immediately cause alarm in many parts of the Conservative Party.
The maverick, renowned as the brains behind the Vote Leave victory three years ago, recently compared hardline Eurosceptics to a ‘metastasising tumour’ branding them ‘useful idiots’.
One Tory MP, who supports Mr Johnson as PM, told MailOnline that Mr Cummings ‘lacked people skills’.
‘One of the lines being used for why people should not support Michael Gove (during the leadership campaign) was, ”Do you really want to see Dominic Cummings at No10?”’ they said.
‘He wouldn’t be coming back without assurances that he will have free rein.
‘He does lack people skills. In a place like Downing Street there are always tensions, there is always territorial warfare and there is individual ambition.
‘You need to deal with all these egos and different issues with a bit of diplomacy.
‘Even the best of people would have clashes. But with Dominic Cummings there is no effort. If he wants to swear at you he will swear at you.’
The MP added: ‘The fact he has been brought in at such a senior level will give him licence to say, ”Everyone knows the way I behave, despite that they have called me back – they know what they are going to get.”
‘We have had in the past few years various issues on bullying… MPs bullying their staff, codes of conduct, ministers being held to account. The PM will no doubt be held to account for the conduct in his own office.’ .
In a statement of intent, Mr Johnson is planning to embark on a tour of the four nations of the UK to counter claims that his tough stance on Brexit risks fracturing the Union.
Who is Penny Mordaunt, the sacked defence secretary?
Penny Mordaunt made waves earlier this year when she was made the UK’s first ever female defence secretary.
But a little over 80 days later, her fleeting tenure in the Cabinet ended as she was sacked by Boris Johnson.
Though brief, the 46-year-old’s stint in one of the most significant offices of state was enough to endear her to both rank-and-file and the military top brass – not least because, unlike her predecessor Gavin Williamson, Ms Mordaunt had experience in the Armed Forces as a Royal Navy reservist.
Last year, there was speculation the prominent Leave campaigner – who came out to bat for Jeremy Hunt during the leadership campaign – might resign over Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement.
But her public show of support for the then-prime minister seemed to have paid dividends, with a promotion from international development secretary.
First elected to Parliament as MP for Portsmouth North in 2010, Ms Mordaunt achieved ministerial rank under David Cameron between 2014 and 2016, and was appointed minister for disabled people when Theresa May took power in 2016.
She is probably best known outside of Westminster for donning her swimsuit in the TV show Splash! in 2014, when she joined celebrities to be trained in diving by Olympian Tom Daley.
The daughter of a paratrooper-turned-teacher, she served as an acting sub-lieutenant of the Portsmouth-based HMS King Alfred.
Mrs May announced she was stepping down in the wake of the disastrous European Parliament elections that followed her failure to take Britain out of the EU on March 29.
Yesterday’s Tory leadership result confirmed that Mr Johnson’s blend of optimism and Brexit determination had proved a winning formula with Tory activists.
He secured 92,153 votes – 66.4 per cent – to defeat Mr Hunt, who was backed by 46,656 Tory members – 33.6 per cent.
Mr Johnson said: ‘We are once again going to believe in ourselves and what we can achieve. And like some slumbering giant, we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self-doubt and negativity, we are going to unite this amazing country and we are going to take it forward.’
Referring to his promise to deliver Brexit, unite the nation and defeat Labour, he added: ‘I know that some wag has already pointed out that Deliver, Unite and Defeat was not the perfect acronym for an election campaign, since unfortunately it spells DUD – but they forgot the final E, my friends, E for Energise. And I say to all the doubters, DUDE, we are going to energise the country.’
Former Tory leader William Hague also sounded the alarm, warning that No Deal could put the government ‘in near-terminal trouble from its first hour’.
Veteran Tory MP Sir Keith Simpson branded the new regime a ‘circus’ and attacked those MPs clamouring for government jobs as ‘ambitious little s***s’.
In his acceptance speech yesterday, Mr Johnson acknowledged he had his doubters, saying: ‘I know that there will be people around the place who will question the wisdom of your decision. And there may even be some people here who still wonder quite what they have done.’
But he offered a return to traditional Tory values.
And, in an olive branch to his critics, he offered plum jobs today to rising stars Mr Dowden, Mr Sunak and Mr Jenrick, who backed Remain at the referendum.