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17 ministers depart

Mundell fired as Johnson brings axe down on May’s Cabinet

David Mundell

Out of office: David Mundell has been sacked (pic: Terry Murden)

David Mundell became a victim of Boris Johnson’s brutal sackings as he was ushered out of office and replaced by Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack.

Mr Mundell, who has served in the post since May 2015, was among a number of Mrs May’s ministers to be given the chop as Mr Johnson reshapes his top team.

As predicted Sajid Javid becomes Chancellor, Priti Patel Home Secretary and Dominic Raab is appointed Foreign Secretary. Rishi Sunak becomes Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Andrea Leadsom moves to Business. Michael Gove is appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and no-deal Brexit planning. Stephen Barclay retained his position as Brexit Secretary.

Contrary to expectations of more women, the Cabinet is now 26% female against 31% in Mrs May’s top team, but the number of ministers who voted Leave in 2016 is up from six to 12.

More than half the previous cabinet, including leadership rival Jeremy Hunt, have quit or been sacked. Mr Hunt turned down an offer to move to Defence. In all, 17 ministers left office. They include Business Secretary Greg Clark, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.  Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt and Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Brady also left their posts.

Mr Mundell tweeted that he was “disappointed but not surprised” to be leaving the Scotland Office. He had been critical of Mr Johnson and was heavily criticised this week for appearing to change his tone in an attempt to save his job.

He later said: “Mr Johnson made it clear he wanted a cabinet in his own mould – I’m clearly not in that mould. I’ve never been a cheerleader for him, which is well documented.

My overriding priority is keeping Scotland in the United Kingdom

– David Mundell

“I was prepared to work with him because my overriding priority is keeping Scotland in the United Kingdom and making sure that we deliver a Brexit that’s best for Scotland.”

He pledged his support for the government from the backbenches, but said he had told Mr Johnson on Wednesday afternoon that he would also “hold him to account on his commitments to the Union”.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said Mr Mundell’s record as Scottish secretary had been “exemplary”, while opponents said he had failed to show any consistency in his views.

Mr Mundell was said to have been heavily involved in a Scottish Conservative attempt to prevent Mr Johnson becoming prime minister in 2016.

Ms Davidson said: “He has been a trusted adviser to two prime ministers, held his nerve during the independence campaign and faced down Nicola Sturgeon when she called for a re-run in 2017”.

Who is Alister Jack?

Dumfries-born Mr Jack was one of three Scottish Conservatives who last year signed a letter to Mrs May calling on the UK to make a clean break with the EU.

He is one of the Commons’ most recent intake having been elected to his local seat in the 2017 snap election. However, he has been a member of the Scottish Conservative Party for many years, having acted as its industry and economy spokesman from 1996.

Alister Jack: new Scottish Secretary

Since being elected he has risen quickly, becoming an aide to the Leader of the House of Lords and then Lord Commissioner of the Treasury. He voted Leave in the 2016 EU referendum and voted for Theresa May’s deal.

Mr Jack was raised in Dalbeattie and Kippford, and went to Glenalmond College in Perthshire. He made millions after selling a number of self-storage companies he set up. He also runs a large dairy farm near his home in Dumfries.

Outside politics he is a Deputy Lieutenant for Dumfries, and a member of the Royal Company of Archers, the Queen’s official bodyguard unit in Scotland.

Other key Cabinet appointments included:

Ben Wallace: Defence secretary

Liz Truss: International trade secretary

Matt Hancock: Health secretary (retains post)

Gavin Williamson: Education secretary

Nicky Morgan: Culture secretary

Amber Rudd: Work and pensions secretary (retains post)

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Leader of the Commons

See also:

Johnson makes ‘no ifs, or buts’ pledge to take Britain out of EU

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