New PM Boris Johnson drafts in Brexit maverick as top adviser

Boris assembles his Brexit hit squad: New PM appoints maverick Vote Leave architect Dominic Cummings as top adviser as he promotes hardline Brexiteers to Cabinet – but will Jeremy Hunt get the top job he’s demanding?

  • Priti Patel set for a remarkable return to a cabinet that insiders say will be diverse
  • Sources say the Brexit hardliner could even be appointed as Home Secretary 
  • Mr Johnson’s long-term ally Alok Sharma is also set to join to tackle housing 
  • New roles expected for leadership contenders Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt 

Boris Johnson (pictured in London yesterday) has laid down a marker by appointing maverick Vote Leave chief Dominic Cummings as a top adviser

Boris Johnson is marshalling his forces for Brexit warfare today as he prepares to take the reins at Downing Street.

The incoming PM has laid down a marker by appointing maverick Vote Leave chief Dominic Cummings as a top adviser.

A host of other veterans of the successful EU referendum campaign in 2016 are also being brought into the No10 fold with Mr Johnson.

Meanwhile, Brexiteers such as Priti Patel and Dominic Raab are in line for comebacks to the Cabinet. 

Sajid Javid is hotly tipped as the new Chancellor as Mr Johnson promises to create the ‘most diverse’ top table of government ever.

But Jeremy Hunt could be out on his ear after apparently turning down a move to defence – saying he will only accept staying as Foreign Secretary, becoming Chancellor, or being deputy PM. 

Mr Johnson once joked that he had more chance of being ‘reincarnated as an olive’ than becoming PM – but today he will realise his dream.

The new Tory leader – who as a child said his ambition was to be ‘world king’ is frantically assembling his new team as he prepares will take over from Theresa May this afternoon .

Seeks to inject a ‘can-do’ spirit into government and force through Brexit by the end of October. Mr Johnson will promote a new generation of ministers.

But there will be a lot of familiar faces, both from his time in City Hall and from the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign that defines his political career.  

In stark contrast, Mr Johnson will face an exodus of Remainer ministers, with Philip Hammond, David Gauke, Rory Stewart and Claire Perry all expected to resign from the Cabinet immediately after Mrs May’s final PMQs.

Last night he told a meeting of Tory MPs he would ‘love bomb’ his critics in an attempt to unite a party that has been riven by conflict since the 2016 referendum. 

But installing Mr Cummings immediately cause alarm in many parts of the Conservative Party. 

The maverick, renowned as the brains behind the Vote Leave victory three years ago, recently compared hardline Eurosceptics to a ‘metastasising tumour’ branding them ‘useful idiots’. 

One Tory MP, who supports Mr Johnson as PM, told MailOnline that Mr Cummings ‘lacked people skills’.

‘One of the lines being used for why people should not support Michael Gove (during the leadership campaign) was, ”Do you really want to see Dominic Cummings at No10?”’ they said.

‘He wouldn’t be coming back without assurances that he will have free rein.

‘He does lack people skills. In a place like Downing Street there are always tensions, there is always territorial warfare and there is individual ambition.

‘You need to deal with all these egos and different issues with a bit of diplomacy.

‘Even the best of people would have clashes. But with Dominic Cummings there is no effort. If he wants to swear at you he will swear at you.’

The MP added: ‘The fact he has been brought in at such a senior level will give him licence to say, ”Everyone knows the way I behave, despite that they have called me back – they know what they are going to get.”

‘We have had in the past few years various issues on bullying… MPs bullying their staff, codes of conduct, ministers being held to account. The PM will no doubt be held to account for the conduct in his own office.’ 

Installing Dominic Cummings (pictured at a Commons select committee) has caused alarm in many parts of the Conservative Party.

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

Sources said the shake-up would create the most ethnically-diverse Cabinet ever, with Mr Javid strongly tipped to be chancellor and Mr Johnson’s long-time ally Alok Sharma expected to be housing minister.

Sources in the Johnson camp said the number of full female Cabinet ministers would increase from the current five.

Liz Truss is certain to get a senior role and was still in the running for chancellor last night. 

Amber Rudd and Penny Mordaunt are expected to retain their seats at the top table, while Andrea Leadsom is tipped for a return just weeks after resigning over Brexit.

Sir Michael Fallon yesterday urged ‘self-indulgent’ critics threatening to bring down Mr Johnson to give him a chance, saying: ‘Let sunshine win the day.’

In a statement of intent, Mr Johnson is planning to embark on a tour of the four nations of the UK to counter claims that his tough stance on Brexit risks fracturing the Union. 

Mrs May announced she was stepping down in the wake of the disastrous European Parliament elections that followed her failure to take Britain out of the EU on March 29. 

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, left, is also set to join, probably to lead a new drive to tackle the housing crisis, while Mark Spencer, right, has been confirmed as chief whip

Mr Cummings inspired the character played by Benedict Cumberbatch in Channel 4 drama on the Brexit referendum

She will resign as prime minister this afternoon, after which the Queen will invite Mr Johnson to Buckingham Palace.

Yesterday’s result confirmed that Mr Johnson’s blend of optimism and Brexit determination had proved a winning formula with Tory activists.

He secured 92,153 votes – 66.4 per cent – to defeat Mr Hunt, who was backed by 46,656 Tory members – 33.6 per cent.

Mr Johnson said: ‘We are once again going to believe in ourselves and what we can achieve. And like some slumbering giant, we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self-doubt and negativity, we are going to unite this amazing country and we are going to take it forward.’ Referring to his promise to deliver Brexit, unite the nation and defeat Labour, he added: ‘I know that some wag has already pointed out that Deliver, Unite and Defeat was not the perfect acronym for an election campaign, since unfortunately it spells DUD – but they forgot the final E, my friends, E for Energise. And I say to all the doubters, DUDE, we are going to energise the country.’

Education minister Anne Milton became the latest Remainer minister to quit yesterday, saying she had ‘grave concerns’ about No Deal. In an ominous resignation letter, she said: ‘It is important to me to be free to do what I feel is right for the country and my constituents.’

Former Tory leader William Hague also sounded the alarm, warning that No Deal could put the government ‘in near-terminal trouble from its first hour’. Veteran Tory MP Sir Keith Simpson branded the new regime a ‘circus’ and attacked those MPs clamouring for government jobs as ‘ambitious little s***s’.

In his acceptance speech yesterday, Mr Johnson acknowledged he had his doubters, saying: ‘I know that there will be people around the place who will question the wisdom of your decision. And there may even be some people here who still wonder quite what they have done.’

But he offered a return to traditional Tory values. And, in an olive branch to his critics, sources said he would offer plum jobs today to rising stars Oliver Dowden, Rishi Sunak and Robert Jenrick, who backed Remain at the referendum.

Jeremy Hunt has reportedly been offered Defence Secretary and has been told to ‘sleep on it’ by Boris Johnson

Grant Shapps is understood to be in the running for the Transport Secretary job, taking over from Chris Grayling

 

 

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