BORIS JOHNSON met with his new-look cabinet for the first time this morning, as he instigated a “call and response” exercise to hammer home his election pledges.
Following yesterday’s shock cabinet reshuffle, which saw Sajid Javid resign as Chancellor, the Prime Minister held his first meeting with his newly appointed colleagues. Rather bizarrely, Boris Johnson instigated a call and response exercise where the 22 ministers responded to prompts about his campaign promises. These included his pledge to recruit 20,000 more police officers, 50,000 more nurses and build 40 new hospitals.
Hailing his “people’s Government”, Mr Johnson asked them: “How many hospitals are we going to build?”.
They replied: “Forty!”
He asked: “How many more police officers are we recruiting?”
They replied: “20,000!”
He added: “How many more nurses will we recruit?”
They replied: “50,000!”
“Exactly”, the PM concluded.
Greeting his new cabinet of senior ministers, Mr Johnson vowed to repay the trust of voters by improving infrastructure, cutting crime and building more hospitals.
He said: “It’s great to see you all here and congratulations to you all on achieving, or indeed retaining, the great offices of state that you hold.
“We have to repay the trust of people who voted for us in huge numbers.”
The biggest shock from yesterday’s cabinet reshuffle was Mr Javid’s resignation as Chancellor.
He chose to walk away from the Government after the Prime Minister insisted he had to sack all of his aides and replace them with advisers chosen by No10.
Mr Javid accused Mr Johnson of setting conditions ‘any self-respecting minister’ would reject – a thinly veiled swipe at his successor.
Rishi Sunak, 39, was then promoted to the top job, who formally worked as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
His elevation to the top job has raised doubts on whether the budget, due to be announced on March 11, will be able to go ahead as planned.
Other Tory MPs axed from Mr Johnson’s cabinet include: Julian Smith as Northern Ireland secretary, Theresa Villiers as Environment Secretary and Geoffrey Cox was removed from his post as Attorney General.
One of the Prime Minister’s former Tory leadership rivals Andrea Leadsom was also sacked as Business Secretary.
Esther McVey also lost her role as Housing Minister.
Mr Johnson decided to reduce the total of cabinet ministers from 32 to 26 as the number of female cabinet ministers dropped from eight to seven.