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Dominic Raab and Gavin Williamson axed: But what took Boris so long to send them packing?

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Dominic Raab and Gavin Williamson were humiliated last night as they were ousted from their Cabinet jobs in the reshuffle.

Mr Raab was removed as Foreign Secretary in the wake of his disastrous handling of the crisis in Afghanistan.

The minister was shunted from one of the Great Offices of State to become Justice Secretary.

But in a face-saving move, he was given the title of Deputy Prime Minister following lengthy talks with Boris Johnson in his Commons office yesterday.

Mr Williamson was sacked as Education Secretary after his calamitous tenure saw chaos in schools during the pandemic, including on exams.

Mr Raab was replaced by Liz Truss, who becomes only the second female foreign secretary in history, while Mr Williamson’s job was taken by Nadhim Zahawi. 

Robert Buckland, who had been at the Ministry of Justice, was sent to the backbenches.

Mr Raab (pictured left) was removed as Foreign Secretary in the wake of his disastrous handling of the crisis in Afghanistan

Mr Williamson (pictured right) was sacked as Education Secretary after his calamitous tenure saw chaos in schools during the pandemic, including on exams

Dominic Raab and Gavin Williamson were humiliated last night as they were ousted from their Cabinet jobs in the reshuffle. Mr Raab was removed as Foreign Secretary in the wake of his disastrous handling of the crisis in Afghanistan. Mr Williamson was sacked as Education Secretary after his calamitous tenure saw chaos in schools during the pandemic, including on exams.

Mr Raab¿s demotion comes after he faced a huge backlash over his failure to make a crucial phone call to seek urgent help airlifting translators out of Afghanistan. He was in holiday in Crete (pictured) at the time

Mr Raab’s demotion comes after he faced a huge backlash over his failure to make a crucial phone call to seek urgent help airlifting translators out of Afghanistan. He was in holiday in Crete (pictured) at the time

Mr Williamson came under repeated pressure to resign over the fiasco around grading of GCSE and A-level students amid cancelled exams. Pictured: Library image

Mr Williamson came under repeated pressure to resign over the fiasco around grading of GCSE and A-level students amid cancelled exams. Pictured: Library image

Mr Raab’s demotion comes after he faced a huge backlash over his failure to make a crucial phone call to seek urgent help airlifting translators out of Afghanistan.

The Daily Mail revealed last month that senior officials had advised that he should make immediate contact with Afghan foreign minister Haneef Atmar as the Taliban advanced on Kabul.

But the minister, who was on holiday at a five-star beach resort in Crete, did not make the call and it was delegated to a junior minister – although it never actually ended up taking place.

Afghans who risked their lives by working as translators alongside British soldiers accused him of ‘betrayal’ and warned that his failure could cost lives.

Tory MPs denounced Mr Raab for being ‘asleep at the wheel’ and joined opposition parties in demanding he be removed.

Mr Raab finally flew back from his break after Kabul had already fallen. He has since admitted ‘with hindsight’ he should have come back sooner.

But he insisted it was ‘nonsense’ that he was ‘lounging on a beach or paddleboarding’, claiming the sea ‘wasn’t open’.

Mr Raab accepted his new job yesterday following a tense meeting with Mr Johnson in which he attempted to resist being demoted. 

The Prime Minister eventually agreed to add Deputy Prime Minister to his title to cushion the blow.

Mr Raab accepted his new job yesterday following a tense meeting with Mr Johnson (pictured) in which he attempted to resist being demoted. The Prime Minister eventually agreed to add Deputy Prime Minister to his title to cushion the blow.

Mr Raab accepted his new job yesterday following a tense meeting with Mr Johnson (pictured) in which he attempted to resist being demoted. The Prime Minister eventually agreed to add Deputy Prime Minister to his title to cushion the blow.

It formalises a role he performed as First Secretary of State when he stood in for Mr Johnson while he was in hospital with coronavirus. 

He is the first person to hold the title since Sir Nick Clegg, the former Liberal Democrat leader.

Mr Williamson earlier became the first confirmed casualty as Mr Johnson began his reshuffle after Prime Minister’s Questions. 

‘It has been a privilege to serve as Education Secretary since 2019,’ he tweeted. 

‘Despite the challenges of the global pandemic, I’m particularly proud of the transformational reforms I’ve led.’

Mr Williamson came under repeated pressure to resign over the fiasco around grading of GCSE and A-level students amid cancelled exams.

Last summer he was forced into a U-turn following protests over the downgrading of thousands of results.

Only last week, he faced further ridicule after he said he had met footballer Marcus Rashford online, when he had instead talked to rugby player Maro Itoje.

Before his tenure at the Department for Education, Mr Williamson became known for a tendency to put his foot in his mouth as defence secretary.

He was sacked from that job in May 2019 following an inquiry into the leak of information from a National Security Council meeting about Chinese telecoms firm Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s 5G mobile network. 

Mr Williamson denied being the source of the leak.

Last night Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, the largest teaching union in the UK, said: ‘We can’t pretend we are sorry that Gavin Williamson has gone.

Robert Buckland (left), who had been at the Ministry of Justice, was sent to the backbenches

Robert Buckland (left), who had been at the Ministry of Justice, was sent to the backbenches

‘He failed to engage with our suggestions on how to make schools safer during Covid – leading to unnecessary disruption to children and young people’s education.

‘His CO2 monitors won’t arrive until very late this term, his laptops took months to reach the children who needed them and he had to be dragged kicking and screaming into providing for children going hungry during school holidays. 

‘The exam debacle in 2020 and 2021 caused huge stress to parents, students and teachers. Many parents and students will never forgive Williamson for this.’

Labour last night said appointing Mr Raab as Justice Secretary ‘shows how little this Government cares about victims of crime’. 

Justice spokesman David Lammy said: ‘Appointing a failed foreign secretary who was fired for being missing in action to be the sixth justice secretary in six years shows how little this Government cares about victims of crime.

‘Victims need a justice secretary who is capable of fixing the courts crisis the Government created, not one who has been open about his opposition to the fundamental rights and freedoms the public depends on.’



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