Dominic Raab demoted from foreign secretary but handed title of deputy prime minister

Mr Raab becomes justice Secretary, Lord Chancellor and deputy prime minister – after tussle with Boris Johnson

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Wednesday 15 September 2021 15:59
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Dominic Raab has been demoted from the post of foreign secretary – but handed the title of deputy prime minister, in an apparent consolation prize.

He will become the justice Secretary, Lord Chancellor and deputy prime minister, in the first Cabinet appointment made by Boris Johnson.

Mr Raab has been in the firing line since staying on holiday in Crete as Afghanistan fell to the Taliban and for criticism of his department’s handling of the crisis.

Moments after his demotion was announced, the favourite to replace him – trade secretary Liz Truss – was seen walking into No 10 to meet the prime minister.

Mr Raab, who previously held the title First Secretary of State, is believed to have fought hard for his new title in negotiations with Mr Johnson.

The pair reconvened in Downing Street, after first meeting in the prime minister’s Commons office – where the sackings of three Cabinet ministers were carried out.

Both the other two holders of the big offices of state – Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Priti Patel, the home secretary – are believed to be remaining in their posts.

But Amanda Milling, the Conservative party’s co-chairman, has been removed, apparently paying the price for the shock Chesham and Amersham by-election defeat earlier this year.

Mr Raab’s future was plunged into doubt when he failed to make a crucial call to help fleeing Afghan interpreters get out of the country while he was on holiday.

The call was delegated to a junior minister, as the Taliban neared Kabul last month – as the foreign secretary reportedly declined to intervene personally from his Crete hotel.

He was already under pressure for failing to return from the Greek island until the day after the Afghan capital crumbled, being seen on the beach on that fateful day.

Earlier, the three Cabinet ministers sacked were Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, the justice secretary Robert Buckland, and communities secretary Robert Jenrick.

Mr Williamson’s long-expected sacking comes more than a year after the bungled GCSE and A-level exams that first triggered widespread calls for him to go.

Mr Jenrick had survived the scandal of unlawfully approving a planning application in a way that favoured a major Tory donor.

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