Now that Boris Johnson’s new ministers are in place and the key players in his administration firmly established, the curtain has been decisively drawn over the May era. But who has lost the most and been cast aside in the transition to Boris’s new ‘golden age’?
Mr S. presents his pick…
Alan Duncan, who was dubbed Boris’s ‘pooper-scooper’ when they worked together in the Foreign Office, jumped before he was pushed when he resigned as a minister last week. Duncan said he had quit to try and table a motion on the new PM’s ability to command a majority – which he failed in doing. He insisted however that this was not done out of ‘personal animosity of any sort’ and claimed he would have voted for Johnson. Mr S thinks this is a little strange seeing as only last September he said the new PM was #neverfittogovern and pledged to ‘make sure’ of his demise…
Having been a good fit for the role of Defence Secretary, Mordaunt is among the few prominent figures on the Vote Leave campaign not to have been offered a place in Boris’s cabinet. In the weeks before the reshuffle, Boris noted that his favourite film scene of all time was the end of The Godfather, when Michael Corleone ruthlessly orchestrates the assassinations of his rivals. So it probably wasn’t too surprising that Mordaunt, who had backed Jeremy Hunt for leader, suffered her own retribution.
The European Research Group (ERG)
With Vote Leave mastermind Dominic Cummings brought in as Boris’s key adviser, many among the Eurosceptic old-guard may find their access to No. 10 rather limited. Cummings has made his contempt for the ERG clear during the referendum campaign and has called them ‘useful idiots’ and a ‘metastasising tumour’ in need of being ‘excised’ from the Tory party. Despite Jacob Rees-Mogg’s appointment as Leader of the House of Commons, Steve Baker and Mark Francois find themselves with far less influence in No. 10 than they had expected.
The Taoiseach has steadfastly defended the need for a backstop to guarantee a frictionless Irish border, but Boris has already closed off an avenue of compromise by saying that a time-limit isn’t enough, and that the backstop needs to be removed entirely from the Withdrawal Agreement. Standing up to Britain has played well for Varadkar at home, but with the threat of no deal dramatically increased, he may be forced into seriously exploring alternative arrangements.
Despite acknowledging that he wasn’t ‘maybe as on board with a no-deal Brexit as he [Boris] would want’, the Secretary of State for Scotland of four years may still have considered his position to be safe, especially given that all of his Scottish colleagues have only been MPs for two years. Evidently, lack of experience was not a concern for Johnson, who appointed Alister Jack to the position.
Like Alan Duncan, Hammond resigned as Chancellor before Johnson could sack him last week. It’s a big loss for the former Chancellor: now that he no longer sets out the government’s annual budget, he has lost the one day a year when people were forced to listen to his awful jokes.
The left-wing Independent journalist was not happy when Boris was about to become prime minister, and claimed on Sky News last month that Boris will ‘take away my citizenship, I’m sure. Because I’ve been so horrible to him.’ Mr S is sure Boris will forgive and forget…