Boris Johnson’s cabinet is expected to be Brexiteer-heavy and ethnically diverse as he prepares to meet the Queen later today.
Mr Johnson joked at his anointing ceremony yesterday, ‘Dude, we are going to energise the country.’
And among the ‘dudes,’ Mr Johnson’s allies say he is agonising over how best to fulfil his pledge to have a woman in one of the four top spots.
Priti Patel, who was sacked by Theresa May less than two years ago, is set for a remarkable return as part of a Cabinet that insiders said would be the most ethnically diverse ever.
Sources suggested Miss Patel could even be appointed as Home Secretary, although her name has also been linked to both the Department for International Trade and the party chairman’s job.
A source close to the Tory leader said: ‘Boris will build a cabinet showcasing all the talents within the party that truly reflect modern Britain.’
Priti Patel, who was sacked by Theresa May less than two years ago, is set for a remarkable return as part of a Cabinet that insiders said would be the most ethnically diverse ever
Home Secretary Sajid Javid (left) is heavily tipped to become Mr Johnson’s Chancellor, while Gavin Williamson (right) is expected to return to the cabinet, perhaps as the Northern Ireland secretary or as deputy PM
Michael Gove and Boris Johnson on the Vote Leave campaign bus – Mr Gove is also said to be eyeing a promotion despite his famous knifing of Mr Johnson during his last leadership effort
Mr Johnson’s long-term ally Alok Sharma is also set to join, probably to lead a new drive to tackle the housing crisis, and Home Secretary Sajid Javid is heavily tipped to become Mr Johnson’s Chancellor, preparing the economy for the possibility of No Deal at the end of October.
Speculation reached fever pitch last night when the two men arrived together for Mr Johnson’s first meeting with Tory MPs after being elected as their leader. Mr Javid gave a thumbs-up when he left.
But sources denied he had been offered the job formally, leaving open the possibility that Mr Johnson could yet reward either Liz Truss or Matt Hancock, who both played prominent roles in his successful bid to be Prime Minister.
Another Mr Johnson backer, Gavin Williamson, who was sacked by Mrs May over alleged Huawei leaks, is also thought to be returning.
Whitehall staff are reportedly anxious that Mr Williamson could be given another security sensitive role. He is tipped for Northern Ireland secretary or deputy PM.
The only confirmed role was chief whip, taken by Mark Spencer, a low-profile figure who has been in the whips’ office for years.
The appointment of Mr Spencer, a Remainer, was broadly welcomed last night. But one Eurosceptic said it was ‘astonishing’, pointing out he was in charge of the failed project to persuade Labour MPs to back Mrs May’s Brexit deal.
Mr Johnson is expected to confer a handful of senior Cabinet roles tonight after assuming power. However, the appointment of his full Government is expected to take at least another 24 hours.
Mr Johnson’s long-term ally Alok Sharma is also set to join, probably to lead a new drive to tackle the housing crisis
Allies fear he will be reluctant to wield the knife in person and are privately relieved that some long-term critics, such as Philip Hammond, have already said they will quit in advance.
Mr Johnson was seen having a 10-minute chat in the wings with Jeremy Hunt before his victory was announced on Tuesday.
He is believed to have offered Mr Hunt the Defence Secretary job, urging him to ‘sleep on it,’ after the Foreign Secretary said he would not take anything less than his current job, Chancellor or deputy PM.
Meanwhile, Michael Gove is understood to be eyeing a promotion from his current role as environment secretary, although there are doubts he can take a top spot.
Mr Gove famously knifed the new Prime Minister in the back during Mr Johnson’s last leadership bid in 2016.
Jeremy Hunt has reportedly been offered Defence Secretary and has been told to ‘sleep on it’ by Boris Johnson
One source said last night that up to two-thirds of the seats around the Cabinet table could be handed to Brexiteers as Mr Johnson makes good on his pledge to appoint only those who are ‘reconciled’ to the possibility of No Deal this autumn.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group of Eurosceptic MPs, is tipped for a senior role, possibly as chief secretary to the Treasury.
Steve Baker, who led the Eurosceptic rebellion against Mrs May’s deal, is also being considered for a return to government, along with Andrea Leadsom, to reassure Brexiteers that Mr Johnson will not abandon them once in office.
But, in a sign that Mr Johnson is aware of the need to reach out to the pro-Remain wing of the party, he will also promote a string of rising stars to roles just outside the Cabinet, including Oliver Dowden, Rishi Sunak and Robert Jenrick.
Grant Shapps, formerly a Remainer, is expected to be named the new Transport Secretary as he takes over from Chris Grayling.
Popular former sports minister Tracey Crouch, who quit in protest over Government policy on controversial fixed-odds betting terminals, is also expected to take a senior role.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group of Eurosceptic MPs, is tipped for a senior role, possibly as chief secretary to the Treasury
Mr Johnson has said he will give at least one ‘top four’ job to a woman. But allies admit he has been agonising over how to fulfil the pledge.
One option is to promote Miss Truss – who abandoned her own leadership ambitions to act as a cheerleader for Mr Johnson – to Chancellor.
But some allies fear her maverick style would risk spooking the markets at a delicate time for the British economy.
Another option is to promote Miss Patel to the Home Office. Such a move would represent an astonishing comeback for a minister who left the Government under a cloud less than two years ago.
She was forced to step down as international development secretary in November 2017 after failing to tell the Prime Minister about 14 unofficial meetings with Israeli ministers, businesspeople and a senior lobbyist.
In her resignation letter she admitted her actions ‘fell below the high standards that are expected of a secretary of state’.
But she is a favourite of party activists and is a committed Brexiteer. Miss Patel is one of 28 self-styled ‘Spartan’ MPs who voted against Mrs May’s deal three times – once more than Mr Johnson.
Grant Shapps is understood to be in the running for the Transport Secretary job, taking over from Chris Grayling
Miss Patel also takes a tough line on crime, and a move to the Home Office would be controversial, given her long-standing support for the return of the death penalty.
Sources in the Johnson camp last night said the number of female full Cabinet ministers would increase from the current five. However, Mrs May, who will quit as prime minister today, also has three further women ministers who attend Cabinet.
Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley is not expected to keep her job under Mr Johnson’s regime.
However, both Penny Mordaunt and Amber Rudd are expected to be handed places in his top team after Miss Rudd publicly dropped her opposition to No Deal.
A source close to Mr Johnson said: ‘Boris will build a Cabinet showcasing all the talents within the party that truly reflect modern Britain.’
Loyal aides – and Sky boss Andrew Griffith – get rewards as Boris Johnson starts building the team he hopes will help him deliver Brexit
By Jason Groves Political Editor for the Daily Mail
Gone are the suits and ties associated with Whitehall, in their place more casual attire.
But Boris Johnson has chosen a court of advisers with a proven track record of success. ANDREW PIERCE looks at his inner circle:
The business man
After famously issuing his impromptu aside, ‘f*** business’, last year over British companies’ apparent hostility towards Brexit, Johnson has serious bridges to build with the business community. Andrew Griffith, 48, has been chosen as the man for the job, as his corporate adviser.
Andrew Griffith (pictured) has been chosen as Johnson’s corporate adviser as he enters No 10
He is currently chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Sky, having joined in 1999 and presided over the dynamic transformation of the company. He has no chair in his office – preferring to stand, thereby ensuring better energy levels and shorter conversations. Johnson used his £9.5 million Westminster townhouse as a campaign base.
The ‘grit in his oyster’
Eddie Lister (pictured) is the oldest member of Boris Johnson’s team
When the result of the ballot was announced yesterday, it was Eddie Lister who was sitting next to Johnson.
At 69, he’s the oldest member of Team Boris, and will operate as chief of staff but without the title.
For 19 years he was leader of flagship Tory Wandsworth Council, consistently delivering the lowest council tax in the country.
In 2011, he became Johnson’s chief of staff at City Hall and masterminded his re-election as mayor in 2012.
Sir Edward is the working-class grit in the Old Etonian oyster – he went to a state school in Lambeth and never went to university.
His reputation as ‘Steady Eddie’ will be tested to the limit.
For the first four months of the Johnson premiership, the bulky figure of Will Walden, 48, will act as a troubleshooter behind the scenes.
Operating as a heavyweight political consultant, he was Johnson’s director of communications in his second term as London Mayor.
Will Walden (pictured, right, with Andrew Marr, left) will act as a behind-the-scenes troubleshooter for Johnson
Famously unkempt, and can deploy colourful language to make his point. The committed Brexiteer held senior posts over 13 years at the BBC.
The future mayor
Pictured: Munira Mirza, touted as a future London Mayor
Another recruit from Johnson’s days at City Hall, Munira Mirza, 41, was his deputy mayor for education.
She was also his culture adviser and took great delight in upsetting the politically correct brigade.
As director of policy, Mirza will come into her own if and when Britain leaves the EU – and the Government can finally concentrate on domestic initiatives.
The Oldham-born, Oxford-educated academic is popular among Johnson’s team, with a colleague saying: ‘She has a huge brain but wears it lightly. She is hugely important.’
She is already being talked of as a future London mayoral candidate.
His ‘man on Earth’
Johnson is taking a leaf out of David Cameron’s book by employing a tabloid journalist as his director of communications.
Lee Cain, 37, worked for The Sun and The Mail on Sunday. Johnson has described down-to-earth, softly spoken Cain as his ‘man on Earth’.
Lee Cain (pictured) worked for The Mail on Sunday as well as The Sun and is now Johnson’s director of communications
The staunch Brexiteer
Oxford-educated Nikki de Costa, 37, was the first Director of Legislative Affairs in Downing Street.
The post was created by Theresa May, and her task was to push Brexit legislation through the Commons. It was hardly a success, given that there were six major defeats in the Commons in the 15 months she held the post.
Like Johnson, she quit in protest at Mrs May’s Withdrawal Deal, but she will perform the same role for the new prime minister, convinced she can make it work as they are both Brexiteers.
The speech writer
Lucia Hodgson (pictured) will serve as deputy press secretary
Deputy press secretary Lucia Hodgson, 32, will look after newspaper columnists and television and radio interrogators.
A staunch Brexiteer, she became a speech writer in 2013 but was ridiculed after giving tips on speeches including the memorable ‘remember to breathe’.
She has also warned politicians to remember one fact: ‘If you have been playing fast and loose with the truth, you will be found out.’
David Frost, 54, was chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce, where he said: ‘It’s not the role of British business to advocate against Brexit.’ He is going in as Johnson’s EU adviser. A former ambassador to Denmark, he spent years in Brussels as First Secretary for Economic and Financial Affairs.
And, finally, the Aussie
An unofficial – but vital – adviser is Sir Lynton Crosby, 63, who ran Johnson’s mayoral campaigns and helped David Cameron win his surprise election victory in 2015.
His best-known saying is ‘throwing a dead cat on the table’ – a distraction that diverts journalists from focusing on something unhelpful. The Australian had no official role in Johnson’s leadership campaign but they spoke every day.