The reshuffle was not shaping up to be as explosive as some commentators had suggested, based on his senior adviser Dominic Cummings’ well-publicised desire to see a radical reorganisation of government to fit Johnson’s agenda.
Instead, Johnson’s team signalled that he was keen to foster new talent, particularly among women, in the junior ranks of government while also rewarding loyal supporters who helped him win a large majority in December’s election.
With most of his biggest-hitting ministers, such as those for foreign and home affairs, expected to stay in place, Johnson drew criticism for sacking Northern Ireland minister Julian Smith, who only a month ago had helped broker the restoration of a government in the British province. Smith, who had been in charge of parliamentary discipline for Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, was the first minister to be sacked. He was joined by business minister Andrea Leadsom and environment minister Theresa Villiers.
“The Prime Pinister wants this reshuffle to set the foundations for government now and in the future,” sources in his Downing Street office said.