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Boris’s first cabinet? Names of the Brexiteer-heavy, diverse team

Boris’s first cabinet? Names of the Brexiteer-heavy, diverse team

Boris Johnson will unveil a new Brexiteer-heavy, ethnically diverse Cabinet after he meets the Queen and becomes Prime Minister later today.

The newly elected Tory leader is tipped to promote and reinstate a host of new names as he takes a sword to the ministers who have served Theresa May. 

A source close to the Tory leader said: ‘Boris will build a cabinet showcasing all the talents within the party that truly reflect modern Britain.’ 

Priti Patel, who was sacked by Theresa May less than two years ago, is set for a remarkable return. 

Sources suggested Miss Patel could even be appointed as Home Secretary, although her name has also been linked to both the Department for International Trade and the party chairman’s job. 

Priti Patel, who was sacked by Theresa May less than two years ago, is set for a remarkable return as part of a Cabinet that insiders said would be the most ethnically diverse ever 

Home Secretary Sajid Javid (left) is heavily tipped to become Mr Johnson’s Chancellor, while Gavin Williamson (right) is expected to return to the cabinet, perhaps as the Northern Ireland secretary or as deputy PM

Michael Gove and Boris Johnson on the Vote Leave campaign bus – Mr Gove is also said to be eyeing a promotion despite his famous knifing of Mr Johnson during his last leadership effort

Mr Johnson’s long-term ally Alok Sharma is also set to join, probably to lead a new drive to tackle the housing crisis, and Home Secretary Sajid Javid is heavily tipped to become Mr Johnson’s Chancellor, preparing the economy for the possibility of No Deal at the end of October.

Speculation reached fever pitch last night when the two men arrived together for Mr Johnson’s first meeting with Tory MPs after being elected as their leader. Mr Javid gave a thumbs-up when he left.

But sources denied he had been offered the job formally, leaving open the possibility that Mr Johnson could yet reward either Liz Truss or Matt Hancock, who both played prominent roles in his successful bid to be Prime Minister.

Another Mr Johnson backer, Gavin Williamson, who was sacked by Mrs May over alleged Huawei leaks, is also thought to be returning.

Whitehall staff are reportedly anxious that Mr Williamson could be given another security sensitive role. He is tipped for Northern Ireland secretary or deputy PM. 

The only confirmed role was chief whip, taken by Mark Spencer, a low-profile figure who has been in the whips’ office for years.

The appointment of Mr Spencer, a Remainer, was broadly welcomed last night. But one Eurosceptic said it was ‘astonishing’, pointing out he was in charge of the failed project to persuade Labour MPs to back Mrs May’s Brexit deal.

Mr Johnson is expected to confer a handful of senior Cabinet roles tonight after assuming power. However, the appointment of his full Government is expected to take at least another 24 hours.

Mr Johnson’s long-term ally Alok Sharma, left, is also set to join, probably to lead a new drive to tackle the housing crisis, while Mark Spencer, right, has been confirmed as chief whip

Allies fear he will be reluctant to wield the knife in person and are privately relieved that some long-term critics, such as Philip Hammond, have already said they will quit in advance.

Mr Johnson was seen having a 10-minute chat in the wings with Jeremy Hunt before his victory was announced on Tuesday.

He is believed to have offered Mr Hunt the Defence Secretary job, urging him to ‘sleep on it,’ after the Foreign Secretary said he would not take anything less than his current job, Chancellor or deputy PM.

Meanwhile, Michael Gove is understood to be eyeing a promotion from his current role as environment secretary, although there are doubts he can take a top spot.

Mr Gove famously knifed the new Prime Minister in the back during Mr Johnson’s last leadership bid in 2016. 

Jeremy Hunt has reportedly been offered Defence Secretary and has been told to ‘sleep on it’ by Boris Johnson

One source said last night that up to two-thirds of the seats around the Cabinet table could be handed to Brexiteers as Mr Johnson makes good on his pledge to appoint only those who are ‘reconciled’ to the possibility of No Deal this autumn.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group of Eurosceptic MPs, is tipped for a senior role, possibly as chief secretary to the Treasury.

Steve Baker, who led the Eurosceptic rebellion against Mrs May’s deal, is also being considered for a return to government, along with Andrea Leadsom, to reassure Brexiteers that Mr Johnson will not abandon them once in office.

But, in a sign that Mr Johnson is aware of the need to reach out to the pro-Remain wing of the party, he will also promote a string of rising stars to roles just outside the Cabinet, including Oliver Dowden, Rishi Sunak and Robert Jenrick.

Grant Shapps, formerly a Remainer, is expected to be named the new Transport Secretary as he takes over from Chris Grayling.

Popular former sports minister Tracey Crouch, who quit in protest over Government policy on controversial fixed-odds betting terminals, is also expected to take a senior role.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group of Eurosceptic MPs, is tipped for a senior role, possibly as chief secretary to the Treasury

Mr Johnson has said he will give at least one ‘top four’ job to a woman. But allies admit he has been agonising over how to fulfil the pledge.

One option is to promote Miss Truss – who abandoned her own leadership ambitions to act as a cheerleader for Mr Johnson – to Chancellor.

But some allies fear her maverick style would risk spooking the markets at a delicate time for the British economy.

Another option is to promote Miss Patel to the Home Office. Such a move would represent an astonishing comeback for a minister who left the Government under a cloud less than two years ago.

She was forced to step down as international development secretary in November 2017 after failing to tell the Prime Minister about 14 unofficial meetings with Israeli ministers, businesspeople and a senior lobbyist.

In her resignation letter she admitted her actions ‘fell below the high standards that are expected of a secretary of state’.

But she is a favourite of party activists and is a committed Brexiteer. Miss Patel is one of 28 self-styled ‘Spartan’ MPs who voted against Mrs May’s deal three times – once more than Mr Johnson.

Grant Shapps is understood to be in the running for the Transport Secretary job, taking over from Chris Grayling

Miss Patel also takes a tough line on crime, and a move to the Home Office would be controversial, given her long-standing support for the return of the death penalty.

Sources in the Johnson camp last night said the number of female full Cabinet ministers would increase from the current five. However, Mrs May, who will quit as prime minister today, also has three further women ministers who attend Cabinet.

Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley is not expected to keep her job under Mr Johnson’s regime.

However, both Penny Mordaunt and Amber Rudd are expected to be handed places in his top team after Miss Rudd publicly dropped her opposition to No Deal.

A source close to Mr Johnson said: ‘Boris will build a Cabinet showcasing all the talents within the party that truly reflect modern Britain.’

Loyal aides – and Sky boss Andrew Griffith – get rewards as Boris Johnson starts building the team he hopes will help him deliver Brexit

By Jason Groves Political Editor for the Daily Mail

Gone are the suits and ties associated with Whitehall, in their place more casual attire. 

But Boris Johnson has chosen a court of advisers with a proven track record of success. ANDREW PIERCE looks at his inner circle:

The business man

After famously issuing his impromptu aside, ‘f*** business’, last year over British companies’ apparent hostility towards Brexit, Johnson has serious bridges to build with the business community. Andrew Griffith, 48, has been chosen as the man for the job, as his corporate adviser.

Andrew Griffith (pictured) has been chosen as Johnson’s corporate adviser as he enters No 10

He is currently chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Sky, having joined in 1999 and presided over the dynamic transformation of the company. He has no chair in his office – preferring to stand, thereby ensuring better energy levels and shorter conversations. Johnson used his £9.5 million Westminster townhouse as a campaign base.

The ‘grit in his oyster’

Eddie Lister (pictured) is the oldest member of Boris Johnson’s team  

When the result of the ballot was announced yesterday, it was Eddie Lister who was sitting next to Johnson. 

At 69, he’s the oldest member of Team Boris, and will operate as chief of staff but without the title.

For 19 years he was leader of flagship Tory Wandsworth Council, consistently delivering the lowest council tax in the country.

In 2011, he became Johnson’s chief of staff at City Hall and masterminded his re-election as mayor in 2012.

Sir Edward is the working-class grit in the Old Etonian oyster – he went to a state school in Lambeth and never went to university. 

His reputation as ‘Steady Eddie’ will be tested to the limit.

The troubleshooter

For the first four months of the Johnson premiership, the bulky figure of Will Walden, 48, will act as a troubleshooter behind the scenes. 

Operating as a heavyweight political consultant, he was Johnson’s director of communications in his second term as London Mayor.

Will Walden (pictured, right, with Andrew Marr, left) will act as a behind-the-scenes troubleshooter for Johnson 

Famously unkempt, and can deploy colourful language to make his point. The committed Brexiteer held senior posts over 13 years at the -.

The future mayor

Pictured: Munira Mirza, touted as a future London Mayor 

Another recruit from Johnson’s days at City Hall, Munira Mirza, 41, was his deputy mayor for education. 

She was also his culture adviser and took great delight in upsetting the politically correct brigade.

As director of policy, Mirza will come into her own if and when Britain leaves the EU – and the Government can finally concentrate on domestic initiatives.

The Oldham-born, Oxford-educated academic is popular among Johnson’s team, with a colleague saying: ‘She has a huge brain but wears it lightly. She is hugely important.’ 

She is already being talked of as a future London mayoral candidate.

His ‘man on Earth’

Johnson is taking a leaf out of David Cameron’s book by employing a tabloid journalist as his director of communications. 

Lee Cain, 37, worked for The Sun and The Mail on Sunday. Johnson has described down-to-earth, softly spoken Cain as his ‘man on Earth’.

Lee Cain (pictured) worked for The Mail on Sunday as well as The Sun and is now Johnson’s director of communications 

The staunch Brexiteer

Oxford-educated Nikki de Costa, 37, was the first Director of Legislative Affairs in Downing Street. 

The post was created by Theresa May, and her task was to push Brexit legislation through the Commons. It was hardly a success, given that there were six major defeats in the Commons in the 15 months she held the post.

Like Johnson, she quit in protest at Mrs May’s Withdrawal Deal, but she will perform the same role for the new prime minister, convinced she can make it work as they are both Brexiteers.

The speech writer

Lucia Hodgson (pictured) will serve as deputy press secretary 

Deputy press secretary Lucia Hodgson, 32, will look after newspaper columnists and television and radio interrogators. 

A staunch Brexiteer, she became a speech writer in 2013 but was ridiculed after giving tips on speeches including the memorable ‘remember to breathe’. 

She has also warned politicians to remember one fact: ‘If you have been playing fast and loose with the truth, you will be found out.’

The diplomat

David Frost, 54, was chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce, where he said: ‘It’s not the role of British business to advocate against Brexit.’ He is going in as Johnson’s EU adviser. A former ambassador to Denmark, he spent years in Brussels as First Secretary for Economic and Financial Affairs.

And, finally, the Aussie

An unofficial – but vital – adviser is Sir Lynton Crosby, 63, who ran Johnson’s mayoral campaigns and helped David Cameron win his surprise election victory in 2015. 

His best-known saying is ‘throwing a dead cat on the table’ – a distraction that diverts journalists from focusing on something unhelpful. The Australian had no official role in Johnson’s leadership campaign but they spoke every day.  

Will he be the Dude or Die? I knew years ago that my old friend Boris Johnson would be PM. He’s brilliant and fun but deeply flawed – and if he gets Brexit wrong, he’ll be no more than an exotic footnote

By Peter Oborne for the Daily Mail 

For decades I have known that Boris Johnson would become prime minister.

Many people dismissed him as a buffoon and a charlatan. This was mainly envy. His political rivals were envious of his intelligence, his ability to draw a crowd and even his success with women.

Behind the bluster there has always been a brilliant man. Even when he was still a working journalist 20 years ago, it was obvious that he had a dazzling future.

I went to work for Boris when he was editor of The Spectator magazine. It was a joy

I went to work for Boris when he was editor of The Spectator magazine. It was a joy.

Tony Blair was prime minister. The Tory Party was in ruins. The Spectator was the nearest thing to a real Conservative opposition. And Tony Blair hated us.

We would all get together for our weekly conference and they were brilliant events — because of Boris. He bubbled with ideas and humour, and as a result so did we. He made everything fun.

The Boris whom punters saw on TV was exactly the same as the performer in the editor’s chair. He was the same in private as he was in public.

As a boss he was loyal. On several occasions I got into serious trouble and he always stood by me. Sometimes at personal cost.

The quality which struck me most, however, was his acute brain.

Tony Blair was prime minister. The Tory Party was in ruins. The Spectator was the nearest thing to a real Conservative opposition. And Tony Blair hated us

Most editors in my experience are dim. You can explain to them an idea for 20 minutes and they still haven’t got their head around it. But Boris understood what I was trying to say before I’d reached the end of my first sentence, and then go far beyond.

His brain can operate with Exocet precision. This intellectual clarity was completely at odds with his carefully calculated public image as a bumbling fool.

He always asked the right question. He mastered a brief with immense speed. He possessed a mature, nuanced understanding of politics which far surpassed anyone else I have ever dealt with.

Unlike most prime ministers of recent times, he had a well-stocked mind. He was well-read and had a historical frame of reference. He was — and is — a man of ideas.

And of enormous relevance to the job he takes up today, he was an inspired leader.

Partly because he was so busy, he was an expert delegator. Much of the everyday work which would usually befall an editor was carried out by his deputy.

Yet Boris always remained on top of his job. He would call in from the ski slopes, a family holiday or an international conference with ideas of burning relevance.

Boris has been accused of losing his temper. I never saw him do that. However, I have seen him deliberately lose his temper — an entirely different thing.

Once, the advertising manager barged into the editorial conference and started to throw his weight around. I watched Boris as he heard this imposter out and then abruptly ordered him from the room.

Boris concentrated on the big issues. He was open-minded, liberal and international in outlook.

He took this approach to his first big political job, Mayor of London. London is a huge, global multi-cultural city and Boris fitted it perfectly. Once again he showed that crucial ability to delegate.

Theresa May, pictured, hated to delegate responsibility and micromanaged her office

While he focused on bringing his vision of London to the world, much of the more detailed work was overseen by his chief-of-staff, Sir Edward Lister, working with others. It’s no coincidence that Sir Edward will join the new prime minister in Downing Street in the same role.

Many recent prime ministers — Theresa May and Gordon Brown are notorious examples — hate to delegate responsibility. They insist on micro-managing their office. This makes them a nightmare to work for. It also means important decisions get delayed or overlooked.

Boris’s cheerful ability to allow others to do the work — and to let them take the credit — is enormously attractive.

It’s also a much better way of running the country, especially with the British system of cabinet government.

There have been a number of cack-handed attempts to compare Boris Johnson with Winston Churchill, not least from Boris himself.

I’d prefer to compare him to another Old Etonian prime minister, Harold Macmillan.

There have been a number of cack-handed attempts to compare Boris Johnson with Winston Churchill, not least from Boris himself. I’d prefer to compare him to another Old Etonian prime minister, Harold Macmillan

Macmillan allowed his cabinet ministers to go about their job until they failed, when he would then ruthlessly sack them. Macmillan liked to say that Prime Ministers ought to have ‘energy in reserve’.

I predict that will define Boris Johnson’s own approach to government. He is so talented himself that he won’t feel threatened by ambitious young thrusters (to use one of his favourite expressions). Brilliant himself, he will want to have brilliant men and women about him.

To sum up, the Boris I knew well 15 years ago has the potential to be one of Britain’s great prime ministers.

Upon his election in 1513, the Renaissance Pope Leo X said: ‘Since God has given us the papacy, let us enjoy it.’

Boris will be thinking exactly the same. He enjoys life and in Downing Street he will convey that enjoyment of life to ordinary voters. He excites people. They may disapprove of him but they still want to be in his company.

He is a very quick study. And I predict that his officials will enjoy working with him.

But I am also concerned. I worry whether he’s paid too high a price to get to Downing Street.

The truth is that a great deal of Tory politics is less fragrant than a public sewer. Rich men and women hover around politicians desperate to buy access and influence.

Any ambitious Tory politician likely to make it into No. 10 is exposed to a world of sumptuous villas, private jets and an open chequebook to fund any political project you want.

It’s well documented that Boris has got close to dodgy millionaires and dubious Russian oligarchs. His defenders might point out that Tony Blair and his ally, Peter Mandelson, enjoyed similar blandishments.

But I believe it’s not good enough in a future prime minister. It raises deep questions over Johnson’s judgment.

He has fallen into the wrong company as he’s made his way up the greasy pole. We now know he’s been taking advice from Donald Trump’s adviser, Steve Bannon — a sinister figure who has been accused of being a white supremacist and of attempting to stir up Right-wing populism in Europe

He has fallen into the wrong company as he’s made his way up the greasy pole. We now know he’s been taking advice from Donald Trump’s adviser, Steve Bannon — a sinister figure who has been accused of being a white supremacist and of attempting to stir up Right-wing populism in Europe.

Bannon is not the only thing Johnson has in common with Donald Trump. Both President Trump and Prime Minister Johnson have a habit of making up the truth as they go along. In Boris’s case, this dates back to his first job at The Times, from which he was sacked for falsifying a quote.

And this lack of integrity has been particularly evident during the Tory leadership campaign of the past few weeks, when he has been caught out not knowing what he is talking about.

Troublingly, Boris Johnson was also a poor Foreign Secretary. I once took an expert on Yemen to meet him.

Boris appeared interested and listened hard to the ideas she came up with to end the humanitarian calamity there. But there were no follow-up actions, and the catastrophe continued.

The shameful truth is that Britain was the penholder at the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Yemen. In effect, Boris didn’t lift a finger. The same could be said of the genocide of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. The Foreign Office under Boris actually defended the bloodstained regime while the genocide was taking place.

Some historians, then, will look back with moral horror at his time at the Foreign Office. And that brings me to one grave doubt concerning our new prime minister, which I know is shared by many good judges.

He can make intelligent, pragmatic decisions, but is there is moral bone in his body? Is British politics for him all about himself?

I’ve started to worry that the liberal internationalist I admired so much as Spectator editor is turning into a ethno-nationalist — a house-trained Donald Trump

Meanwhile, Johnson continues to use racist language. In a column that he wrote for the Daily Telegraph in 2002, he described African people as ‘piccaninnies’ with ‘watermelon smiles’.

I dismissed it at the time. But as he moved closer to power, the use of such language has persisted —hence his recent comparison of Muslim women who wear the burka to ‘bank robbers’ and ‘letter boxes’.

I’ve started to worry that the liberal internationalist I admired so much as Spectator editor is turning into a ethno-nationalist — a house-trained Donald Trump.

It’s noticeable that the two men get on well, and, of course, Boris will need Trump if he is going to deliver on his pledge of Brexit.

Do we really want to be an appendage of Trump’s America?

Boris Johnson is a man who loves to be loved and once he is in Downing Street, will he have the strength to stand up to rich domestic donors and powerful international backers?

When he was at The Spectator, life was easy for him. He could face both sides at once and commission an article supporting one thesis and another one opposing it.

Now he is going to have to make a series of decisions of massive importance to Britain. That means making enemies. And Boris doesn’t like making enemies.

On Brexit, the decision is coming towards him with the weight and force of an express train.

Is he ready to fall out with the hedge-fund managers who funded his campaign and yearn for a hard Brexit?

Or will he tack back to the centre ground? My instinct is that Boris is personally terrified at the prospect of heading out of the EU with a hard Brexit and will do anything to avoid such an outcome.

But dare he let down his hard Brexiteer supporters and allies — as well as President Trump?

As part of his persona, Boris has often presented himself as P.G. Wodehouse’s comic character Bertie Wooster. But some of his recent conduct bears comparison with another Wodehouse character — the caricature far-right politician Sir Roderick Spode.

It’s uncertainties such as these that mean I’d never have voted for Boris had I been part of the Tory membership.

But there is no question that if Prime Minister Boris does succeed in doing what his campaign mantra promised — Deliver Brexit, Unite the country, Defeat Jeremy Corbyn and Energise Britain, or DUDE as he dubbed it yesterday — and without ill effects, he will be remembered as a major figure in British history.

Get it wrong — and he will be hated. Fail — and he will be little more than an exotic footnote.

We will know the answer within a matter of months.

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