What is a cabinet reshuffle? Prime Minister Boris Johnson begins making changes to his top team

By Jack Gevertz

Boris Johnson is beginning to change his team of top ministers in a long-awaited cabinet reshuffle.

Rumours began swirling around Westminster last week that the Prime Minister would change some of his Government ministers. But it never materialised.

Instead, the cabinet reshuffle is scheduled to take place throughout today, according to sources who spoke to the BBC .

Read more: Covid-19: What is the Government's Plan B?

So far we know of three changes to Boris Johnson’s top team. Several more are expected over the next few hours.

So, you might want to learn: what is a cabinet reshuffle? Why do Prime Ministers decide to hold a cabinet reshuffle? And who’s in or out of Boris Johnson’s latest cabinet reshuffle? Here’s what we know.

What is a cabinet reshuffle?

To understand a cabinet reshuffle, you first need to know what a cabinet is. A cabinet is simply a top team of government ministers who, generally, each hold a specific portfolio or lead on an area of policy. They are appointed by the Prime Minister.

An example of a job in cabinet is Education Secretary. They are seen to be the top minister who oversees that department. So, in the example given, they would lead on education matters.

However, there can be instances where a cabinet minister may hold no portfolio but has been invited to attend the meetings by the Prime Minister. This takes place when the Prime Minister feels their presence in cabinet would benefit the role of government. Generally, though, they each have a specific area that they lead on.

A cabinet reshuffle, then, is simply when the Prime Minister decides there needs to be a change to his cabinet.

From then on, we see cabinet ministers shifted from their position and/or MPs from the governing party move into a cabinet role.

Some MPs come into the cabinet after being promoted from junior roles, while current cabinet ministers may simply be shifted from one cabinet position to another. Some, also, can be demoted entirely out of the cabinet.

Reshuffles may also take place when a sitting Prime Minister leaves office and a new Prime Minister is appointed by the party before a General Election can occur. They may decide to keep some of the old administration, while bringing in new faces too.

Why do Prime Ministers hold a cabinet reshuffle?

Prime Ministers like to hold cabinet reshuffles for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, they like to freshen up their team. If a government minister is perceived to be performing badly or the Prime Minister feels they are no longer doing a good job, they may decide to shift them to another job or get rid of them completely from the cabinet.

Secondly, they may want to make changes in policy. If a Prime Minister feels a cabinet member is diverging from them in policy direction, they may decide to get rid of them from the role.

Thirdly, things can happen which prompts the need for a cabinet reshuffle. For example, a major unforeseen event or a cabinet minister’s resignation. The Prime Minister may feel it is time to change things, so they will hold a cabinet reshuffle.

What can we expect from today’s cabinet reshuffle by Boris Johnson?

There are lots of rumours in Westminster over who may be in or out of a cabinet position.

Three members of cabinet have so far been removed from their positions. The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, Robert Buckland, the Justice Secretary, and Robert Jenrick, the Housing Secretary.

In a message posted on Twitter, Williamson said: “It has been a privilege to serve as Education Secretary since 2019. Despite the challenges of the global pandemic, I’m particularly proud of the transformational reforms I’ve led in Post 16 education: in further education colleges, our Skills agenda, apprenticeships and more.”

Buckland wrote: "It has been an honour to serve in government for the last seven years, and as the Lord Chancellor for the last two.

"I am deeply proud of everything I have achieved. On to the next adventure."

Jenrick posted: “It’s been a huge privilege to serve as Secretary of State for Housing. Thank you to everyone at the department for their hard work, dedication and friendship. I’m deeply proud of all we achieved.

“I will continue to support the Prime Minister and the Government in every way I can.”


What is inkl?

Important stories

See news based on value, not advertising potential. Get the latest news from around the world.

Trusted newsrooms

We bring you reliable news from the world’s most experienced journalists in the most trusted newsrooms.

Ad-free reading

Read without interruptions, distractions or intrusions of privacy.