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Boris Johnson to reshuffle top team, says Downing Street Boris Johnson gets rid of Gavin Williamson as education secretary
(32 minutes later)
The government front bench could look different by the end of Wednesday Gavin Williamson has been under fire over his handling of the pandemic
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is about to reshuffle his ministerial team, Downing Street has told the BBC. Gavin Williamson is out as education secretary as the prime minister begins a reshuffle of his top team.
He is expected to begin firing ministers and appointing replacements over the coming hours. Mr Williamson confirmed he had left the role in a tweet, saying: "It has been a privilege to serve as education secretary since 2019."
A No 10 source said: "The PM will today conduct a reshuffle to put in place a strong and united team to build back better from the pandemic." Boris Johnson is speaking to ministers he wants to sack or move in his Commons office, as he puts a new cabinet line-up in place.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab are among those rumoured to be moved. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is also among those rumoured to be moved.
Mr Williamson faced intense criticism over his handling of disruption to schools and exams during pandemic.
Follow live: Johnson reshuffles cabinetFollow live: Johnson reshuffles cabinet
The Downing Street source added: "The government must also redouble our efforts to deliver on the people's priorities. In his twitter statement, he added: "Despite the challenges of the global pandemic, I'm particularly proud of the transformational reforms I've led in Post 16 education: in further education colleges, our Skills agenda, apprenticeships and more."
Earlier Downing Street said: "The PM will today conduct a reshuffle to put in place a strong and united team to build back better from the pandemic.
"The government must also redouble our efforts to deliver on the people's priorities.
"The PM will be appointing ministers this afternoon with a focus on uniting and levelling up the whole country.""The PM will be appointing ministers this afternoon with a focus on uniting and levelling up the whole country."
Widespread rejig?Widespread rejig?
Confirmation of the reshuffle came as Mr Johnson was on his feet in the Commons taking Prime Minister's Questions.Confirmation of the reshuffle came as Mr Johnson was on his feet in the Commons taking Prime Minister's Questions.
The government front bench could look different by the end of Wednesday
He is thought to have remained in the Commons after PMQs, where he will be able to sack ministers in his private office, away from the cameras in Downing Street.He is thought to have remained in the Commons after PMQs, where he will be able to sack ministers in his private office, away from the cameras in Downing Street.
Mr Johnson has largely stuck with the cabinet team he appointed after winning the December 2019 general election.Mr Johnson has largely stuck with the cabinet team he appointed after winning the December 2019 general election.
The one major change came in February 2020, when Rishi Sunak became chancellor following the resignation of Sajid Javid.The one major change came in February 2020, when Rishi Sunak became chancellor following the resignation of Sajid Javid.
Mr Javid returned to government in July this year as health secretary, following the resignation of Matt Hancock.Mr Javid returned to government in July this year as health secretary, following the resignation of Matt Hancock.
Speculation has been building for weeks that the PM is planning a more widespread rejig of his ministerial team.Speculation has been building for weeks that the PM is planning a more widespread rejig of his ministerial team.
Gavin Williamson, who has faced intense criticism over exams chaos and his department's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, is widely expected to be demoted.
Dominic Raab, who came under fire over his handling of the aftermath of the fall of Afghanistan, has also been at the centre of speculation about his future.Dominic Raab, who came under fire over his handling of the aftermath of the fall of Afghanistan, has also been at the centre of speculation about his future.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has also faced negative headlines over allegedly breaking ministerial rules, a police pay freeze and bullying allegations.Home Secretary Priti Patel has also faced negative headlines over allegedly breaking ministerial rules, a police pay freeze and bullying allegations.
But Ms Patel was in a prominent position on the government frontbench at Prime Minister's Questions, sat next to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, with Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg to the right of the PM.But Ms Patel was in a prominent position on the government frontbench at Prime Minister's Questions, sat next to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, with Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg to the right of the PM.
Other big Cabinet hitters could not be seen in the chamber, including Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, who has been tipped for promotion to a more senior role.Other big Cabinet hitters could not be seen in the chamber, including Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, who has been tipped for promotion to a more senior role.