Jul 24, 2019

Boris Johnson begins by blowing up Theresa May’s cabinet

Boris Johnson moves into Downing Street. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Newly installed Prime Minister Boris Johnson brought the Theresa May era to a screeching halt on Wednesday, dispatching 17 cabinet ministers and installing a team of loyalists and enthusiastic Brexit backers.

Why it matters: Johnson came to power through the Conservative leadership contest that followed May's resignation, not by winning a general election. It's highly unusual for an incoming prime minister to make sweeping personnel changes under such circumstances, and Johnson has sent a clear message that the Brexiteer flank is now in control.

Out with the old...

  • Among those exiting are Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (or finance minister) and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
    • Hammond resigned and joined other outgoing senior officials in vowing to dedicate himself to preventing a "no deal" Brexit. Hunt, Johnson's top rival in the leadership race, stepped aside rather than accept a demotion.

In with the new...

  • Dominic Raab, a former Brexit secretary and leading Brexiteer, will be foreign secretary and Johnsons' de facto deputy.
  • The other "Great Offices of State," chancellor and home secretary, go to Sajid Javid and Priti Patel, respectively.

What they're saying...

  • The Telegraph calls it a "summer's day massacre" that's "reminiscent of Harold Macmillan's 'Night of the Long Knives' in 1962."
  • "Outside the cabinet, the most eye-catching appointment is that of Dominic Cummings as senior adviser to the new prime minister," the BBC notes, citing the "brash and outspoken" operative's work on the campaign to leave the EU.

What to watch: Johnson vowed to "come out of the EU on October 31, no ifs or buts" and said he'd strike a "new deal" with Brussels by that date.

  • He's only got 98 days left to do so, setting up a likely collision with Parliament in October over his preference for a damaging "no deal" to another delay.
  • One possibility is a general election later this year, likely pitting Johnson against Jeremy Corbyn, the hard-left leader of the Labour Party.

Go deeper: How Johnson got here

Go deeper

U.K. speaker vows to stop Boris Johnson from closing Parliament to force Brexit

John Bercow. Photo: House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images

The U.K.'s Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow said Tuesday that he will not allow Prime Minister Boris Johnson to suspend Parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit at the end of October, the Telegraph reports.

"The one thing I feel strongly about is that the House of Commons must have its way. If there is an attempt to circumvent, to bypass or - God forbid! - to close down Parliament; that is anathema to me and I will fight it with every bone in my body to stop that happening. We cannot have a situation in which Parliament is shut down — we are a democratic society."
Go deeperArrowAug 13, 2019

Boris Johnson forms "war cabinet" to prepare for no-deal Brexit

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: Lorne Campbell/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom's newly installed prime minister, has set up a "war cabinet" to deliver Britain's exit from the European Union "by any means necessary" by Oct. 31, the Sunday Times first reported.

The big picture: The EU says it won't renegotiate the Brexit withdrawal treaty agreed to by former Prime Minister Theresa May, per AP. Michael Gove, tasked by Johnson to "turbo-charge" no-deal Brexit plans, wrote in the Sunday Times that the U.K. government is now "working on the assumption" of a no-deal Brexit.

Go deeper:

Keep ReadingArrowJul 28, 2019

Brexit countdown: The scramble to build barriers to Boris

Boris Johnson visits the Fusion Energy Research Centre at the Culham Science Centre on August 8, 2019 in Abingdon, England. Photo: Julian Simmonds - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Boris Johnson has ordered the U.K.'s civil service to make preparations for a no-deal Brexit its "top priority," a directive that comes the same week the government has reportedly drawn up plans to stop British diplomats from attending EU meetings.

Why it matters: 3 weeks into his premiership, Johnson appears hell-bent on fulfilling the campaign promise that paved his path to Downing Street: delivering Brexit on Oct. 31, "do or die."

The optionsArrowAug 15, 2019