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DanMallison1999 101 16th Dec, 2019

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                         Now for the Boris Johnson revolution — PM to wield axe in radical cabinet reshuffle
Up to one-third of ministers will be out after Brexit day
December 15 2019, The Sunday Times
Boris Johnson has drawn up plans to run a “revolutionary” government that will see ministers sacked, Whitehall departments abolished and civil servants replaced by external experts in a bid to “reshape” the economy.
Up to a third of the cabinet face the sack in a February reshuffle after Brexit so that fresh faces can be brought in to create a “transformative” government focused on the needs of working-class voters who propelled him to a landslide victory last week.
But in the first signs of resistance to Johnson’s transformation of government, two former ministers at the Department for International Development have warned him against merging it with the Foreign Office.
Andrew Mitchell, the international development secretary under David Cameron, said the department was “the most effective and respected engine of development anywhere in the world, and a huge soft power asset for Britain.”
Those close to Johnson are understood to want development spending to focus more on serving Britains’ wider foreign policy goals rather than acting independently. So far, however, Downing Street has resisted pressure from those on the right of the party to scrap a legal commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on overseas aid.
Mr Mitchell argued that Britain’s work on aid contributed to the “global Britain” concept touted by Tory Brexiteers, adding: “Any machinery of government changes in Whitehall should obviously respect Britain’s international development in the poorest and most unstable parts of the world. Tackling insecurity and building prosperity directly affects our well being in the UK.”
Alistair Burt, former minister of state for international development, who stood down as an MP at the election, told the Guardian: “48 hours into government I do not want to start a row, but my advice would not to merge DFID and FCO.”
In the Queen’s speech on Thursday Johnson will announce he is enshrining in law the government’s commitment to boost NHS spending by £33.9bn by 2023-24 — the first time a government has made a spending commitment legally binding over several years. An extra £78bn is being earmarked to transform transport in the north of England with a blitz of new roads, bridges and buses.
In a signal of his intent to colonise the centre ground of British politics, Johnson yesterday visited Sedgefield, Tony Blair’s former seat, which the Tories won on Thursday.
Appropriating language used by New Labour, which Blair depicted as “servants of the people”, Johnson said: “When we get down to Westminster and we begin our work, remember we are not the masters, we are the servants now. Our job is to serve the people of this country.”
The prime minister called in senior civil servants, including cabinet secretary Mark Sedwill, on Friday afternoon and announced that the whole government had to shift its focus to improving the lives of the working-class voters in the north of England who backed Brexit and switched to the Tories.
Johnson will abolish DExEU, the Brexit department, on January 31, sending its best staff to join David Frost’s EU negotiating team in the Cabinet Office and the international trade department.
“That’s agreed,” a source said. “It’s happening.”
The prime minister will also spend the Christmas break drawing up plans to make “big changes” to other Whitehall departments. Those in the works include:
● Setting up a department for borders and immigration separate from the Home Office to improve security and the operation of the visa system after Brexit
● Merging the Department for International Trade with the business department to create a powerful outfit that can do trade deals with the US, Japan and Australia while transforming the economy in the north of England
● Merging the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development to help co-ordinate Britain’s aid budget with foreign policy goals
● Splitting energy and climate change from the business department again.
Johnson will make a limited reshuffle on Monday, replacing Nicky Morgan, the culture secretary, who has stood down, Alun Cairns, the Welsh secretary, who resigned at the start of the campaign and Zac Goldsmith, who lost his seat last week.
That is the prelude to a wholesale clearout in February, when he will unveil the team that he hopes will transform Britain and cement the Tories’ chances of winning an unprecedented fifth term in 2024.
Insiders say new ministers will be selected based on their expertise and ability to drive change rather than whether they are good media performers.
A senior figure said: “It will be pretty big. It will be finding the people who can do the jobs and not worry about media and short-term things. We’re drawing up a very detailed and very revolutionary plan and then we are going to implement it.”
Another senior government source said: “There will be a cabinet to get Brexit done and then there will be a cabinet to drive through Boris’s agenda to reshape the country. He will use the time between to work out what he wants and who he wants.”
Johnson’s three priorities for the next five years will be to convince northern voters to stay with the Tories again. The first priority will be throwing the “kitchen sink” at the NHS so it is “impossible” for Labour to use the issue to beat the government at the next election.
Next will be transforming the economy of Britain outside London so that northern voters will benefit from high-tech jobs.
Third will be the launch of record numbers of infrastructure projects, likely to be dubbed Boris bridges.
A senior government source said: “We need a radical reform of the machinery to ensure that it’s ready to deliver a transformative government. We need to shift our focus and start delivering for people outside the home counties.”
In addition to the NHS spending lock, the Queen’s speech will also include bills to make terrorists serve their full sentence, provide a better service to commuters, better protection for renters and stop local authorities boycotting products from other countries such as Israel.
New rules on senior civil servants will ensure it is easier to recruit external experts from business and other sectors to serve alongside career mandarins.
A senior source said: “There will be a lot of changes to the system — hiring, firing and training. We’ve got to shake up people, shake up structures, shake up management, shake up No 10.
“We have to get the right people in the right jobs across the board. People want change and we’ve got to deliver.”
 
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