Ben Wallace to stand down at next election
The Prime Minister is set to delay sweeping changes to his top team of ministers until the end of year, according to reports.
While small changes are expected in the coming 10 days, as Mr Sunak needs to replace Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, more significant changes to his Cabinet will have to wait.
Ben Wallace announced his intention to quit the Cabinet in July, after four years in the job.
While Mr Wallace has promised to keep the news of his planned departure a secret, leaks and briefing from Downing Street forced him to go public with his decision, leading to weeks of speculation about who will get his job.
The smart money is on current Chief Secretary to the Treasury John Glen, a prominent ally of the PM’s who could be relied upon not to rock the boat with demands for more spending.
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It’s thought Mr Glen could be replaced at the Treasury by Mr Sunak’s former special advisor Claire Coutinho, currently an education minister.
Others spoken about for the defence job include Security Minister Tom Tugendhat, Foreign Office Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Cabinet Office Minister Jeremy Quin.
While speculation had been growing that Mr Sunak was planning further changes to his top team ahead of Parliament’s return from the Summer Recess, it appears that will now be delayed for another few months.
It will also prevent upheaval ahead of the party conference, for which ministers and advisors are busy preparing announcements.
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Mr Sunak’s first, and largely current, Cabinet was put together in the wake of the 2022 Tory turmoil, meaning he was forced to keep Boris Johnson and Liz Truss allies around the top table in order to appease factions within the party.
It’s thought a reshuffle would give him the freedom to cut loose some ministers who still bear allegiances to previous Tory PMs and further promote his own backers.
Jeremy Hunt, who had been rumoured to be getting the chop due to concerns about energy and ideas, is now thought to be safe.
Liz Truss’s right hand woman Therese Coffey, the Environment Secretary, is said to be vulnerable, as is health secretary Steve Barclay after months of strikes and a stalling in progress on waiting lists.
Michael Gove may be moved out of levelling up to the Department for Health.
James Cleverly is thought to be fighting hard to stay at the Foreign Office.
The Home Office continues to prove a headache for No. 10 with constant set backs, leaks and infighting over the small boats crisis.
Suella Braverman appears immovable due to her significant support from the Tory right and some of the media.
Her deputy, immigration minister Robert Jenrick, is believed to want a full Cabinet position, however was seen to get the Home Office job in order to keep an eye on the more rebellious Suella Braverman.
It’s understood Mr Sunak wants to use the more wide-ranging reshuffle to promote young Tory talent from the lower branches of the ministerial tree.
Laura Trott, Laura Farris and Richard Holden are among those expected to be promoted.
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