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As new leader anointed...

Boris to fill Cabinet with pro-Brexit ministers to ‘get the job done’

Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson with Stanley Johnson

Boris Johnson with Jeremy Hunt and Boris’s father Stanley behind them, awaiting the result

Top Cabinet posts for women and ethnic groups

Former whisky chief to get key role

Farage offers ‘electoral pact’

UPDATED July 24: Boris Johnson is expected to fill his first Cabinet with pro-Brexiteers in a determined attempt to unite his government around Britain’s withdrawal from Europe and fulfil his pledge to “get the job done”.

His wafer-thin majority of two in the Commons was boosted after Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage offered the prospect of an electoral pact, including non-contested seats, to ensure Mr Johnson was able to push through his legislative programme. The Tories face a tricky by-election and defeat could see Mr Johnson losing his majority, with some claiming he could become the shortest-serving PM in history.

The new Tory leader will be installed at Number 10 after Theresa May tenders her resignation to the Queen. Former Scotch whisky leader David Frost is among those being lined up as one of his key advisers. He has also appointed Sky executive Andrew Griffith as his chief business adviser in a clear attempt to rekindle his relations with the business community.

The incoming PM has controversially appointed maverick Vote Leave chief Dominic Cummings as a top adviser. Mr Cummings came up with the ‘take back control’ slogan and was behind the controversial claim that Brexit could free up £350million a week for the NHS.

Mr Johnson, who will outline his plans outside 10 Downing Street this afternoon, will offer key roles to women and make it one of the most ethnically diverse Cabinets, with Priti Patel, a hardline Eurosceptic, tipped to become Home Secretary and employment minister, Alok Sharma, also expected to be around the top table. Junior housing minister Rishi Sunak is poised for promotion, as is former sports minister Tracey Crouch.

Either former leadership contender Sajid Javid or key Johnson supporter Liz Truss are likely to be named Chancellor. Dominic Raab could be heading to the Foreign Office, while Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to be get a senior role, as will Jeremy Hunt, despite him being a remainer and having made some cutting criticisms of Mr Johnson during the leadership race.

Mark Spencer, MP for Sherwood in Nottinghamshire, was a surprise choice as chief whip, a critical job in a hung parliament.

Mr Frost, a career diplomat, was chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association and is in line to be appointed an adviser on Europe. He was a member of the Scottish government’s advisory council on Europe. He left the SWA to become an adviser to Mr Johnson in November 2016 during his tenure as Foreign Secretary.

I say to all the doubters: dude, we are going to energise the country!

– Boris Johnson

Mr Johnson was elected Tory leader by a 66.4% share of the vote – 92,153 to 46,656 cast for Mr Hunt on a turnout of 87.4% of the party’s 159,320 members. David Cameron was elected in 2005 with a 66.6% share.

Mr Johnson paid tribute to Mr Hunt and Mrs May. He said some will “question the wisdom of what you have just done” but added that no one had a monopoly on wisdom.

His election will pose big questions over the union and also his relationship with Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson. She responded to his victory by saying: “Mr Johnson takes over the leadership at an incredibly challenging time for our country, and he has an enormous task ahead of him.

“My priority as Scottish Conservative leader is to ensure that he will deliver for Scotland within the UK, stop Nicola Sturgeon’s efforts to take us back to a second independence referendum, and prevent Jeremy Corbyn from getting to Number 10.”

His key task will be to resolve Britain’s exit from the European Union and he has said Britain will leave on 31 October with or without a deal.

Mr Johnson pledged to “deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn”. He said someone had pointed out that this made up the acronym “dud” and he joked that the “e for energise” had been left off the end. “I say to all the doubters: dude, we are going to energise the country!

He told the gathering at the QEII Conference Centre in London that he wanted to “cast off the guy ropes of self-doubt” on Brexit. “We are going to get the job done,” he said.

However, he faces an almost intractable challenge of persuading the EU to review the terms of a withdrawal deal in order for it to satisfy the Commons.

The only deal on offer has been rejected three times by parliament and many MPs, including pro-EU rebels in the Conservative Party , are vowing to block Mr Johnson from trying to take Britain out of the EU without a deal.

He has said he would ramp up preparations for a no-deal to try to force the EU’s negotiators to make changes to the accord.

Anne Milton

Anne Milton: resigned

He also needs to unite his party. Education Minister Anne Milton became the latest to resign her post, joining a number to leave office in protest at his Brexit position. Chancellor Philip Hammond announced at the weekend that he will be stepping down, following similar declarations from Justice Secretary David Gauke and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart. Sir Alan Duncan, who quit his Foreign Office role on Monday, had called for MPs to have a vote on whether they actually back Mr Johnson forming a government.

Explaining her decision, tweeted just half an hour before the leadership result was revealed, Ms Milton said: “I believe strongly that Parliament should continue to play a central role in approving a deal and that we must leave the EU in a responsible manner.”

Reaction

Sterling was barely moved, having priced in a Boris Johnson victory. Analysts said the pound’s small move higher after the announcement was a relief rally following a dismal period for the sterling in which it had fallen to more than two-year lows. There was no movement in any of the main stock markets.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, said: “After almost a decade of austerity, we need a Prime Minister on the side of the many, not the few.

“Boris Johnson has won the support of fewer than 100,000 unrepresentative Conservative Party members by promising tax cuts for the richest, presenting himself as the bankers’ best friend, and pushing for a damaging No Deal Brexit.

“But he hasn’t won the support of our country.

“Johnson’s No Deal would mean job cuts, higher prices in the shops, and risk our NHS being sold off to US corporations in a sweetheart deal with Donald Trump.

“The people of our country should decide who becomes Prime Minister. We need a Labour government for the many, not a Boris Johnson Conservative government for the few.”

Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson said: “Boris Johnson has finally got his hands on the keys to Number 10, but he has shown time and time again that he isn’t fit to be the Prime Minister of our country.

“Whether it is throwing people under the bus or writing a lie on the side of one: Britain deserves better than Boris Johnson.

“If we want to defeat nationalism and populism, we need to give people an alternative vision for our country. It’s the Liberal Democrats who can lead the renewal our country needs.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “Boris Johnson represents a dangerous form of English nationalism, and the one certainty of his election as leader of the Tory party is more uncertainty for the future of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 

“Johnson some time ago abandoned the unionist tradition of the Conservative and Unionist party. The Tory Party he now leads is a real and present danger to Scotland’s place in the UK.  

“A no-deal Brexit led by Boris Johnson spells disaster for our country, and it is unforgivable for the Scottish Tories to back him.  “Only Scottish Labour is standing up for Scotland’s place in the UK, for the UK’s place in Europe and against a harmful no deal Brexit.”

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “Boris Johnson must prioritise keeping the UK united, which means making the country work for all of its citizens and ensuring the people of Scotland want to remain part of the UK.

“Predictably, Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are already using his victory to launch yet another attempt to divide us, and the new Prime Minister must not rise to the Nationalists’ desperate grievance tactics or stoop to their level. We are stronger together as part of the UK.

“Whatever your views on Boris Johnson, the very last thing Scotland needs is another divisive independence referendum and more constitutional chaos. Let’s hope that Mr Johnson becomes the Prime Minister the country needs at this vital time.”

Carolyn Fairbairn

Carolyn Fairbairn: ‘let’s work together (pic: Terry Murden)

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: “Many congratulations to Boris Johnson. British business shares your optimism for the UK. Let’s work together to get our economy back on track and working for communities everywhere. 

“Business needs three things in the first 100 days. A Brexit deal that unlocks confidence; clear signals the UK is open for business; and a truly pro-enterprise vision for our country. 

“On Brexit, the new Prime Minister must not underestimate the benefits of a good deal. It will unlock new investment and confidence in factories and boardrooms across the country. Business will back you across Europe to help get there. 

“Early signals back home also matter. From a new immigration system to green-lighting major infrastructure, there is no time to waste.”

Adam Marshall, director general at the British Chambers of Commerce, called on Mr Johnson to take immediate action to resolve the Brexit impasse.

“Tomorrow we will be sending you 15 specific steps you can take — right now — to rebuild business confidence swiftly over the coming days,” he said.

“We will work with you wherever we can to make these proposals a reality, but we will also hold you and your government to account for delivery.”



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