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May shakes up cabinet in New Year reshuffle, Johnson survives

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
British Secretary for Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson (L) and British Prime Minister Theresa May (AFP file photo)

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has changed the lineup of her ministers in an attempt to reunify her cabinet before the next phase of the Brexit talks with the European Union, but there are no signs that she will fire Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

The biggest change came after Justine Greening, the education secretary, handed in her registration and rejected an offer to serve as work and pensions secretary.

"Social mobility matters to me and our country more than a ministerial career,” she said in a statement on Monday.

"I'll continue to work outside of government to do everything I can to create a country for the first time that has equality of opportunity for young people wherever they are growing up," she added.

Experts have attributed the change to Greening’s criticism of May’s policies and her siding with trade unions instead of embracing Tory reforms.

Jeremy Hunt, who led the National Health Service (NHS), for over five years, was appointed as the new health secretary.

May also chose Damian Hinds, a Tory Member of Parliament, as the new education secretary while Esther McVey, another MP, was promoted to become the new work and pensions secretary.

Other major changes included Brandon Lewis, the immigration minister, who would go on to replace Patrick McLoughlin as Conservative Party chairman.

He is tasked with fixing the Tories’ appeal after a humiliating loss of majority in June's general election, a strategic move that was supposed to finish the opposition Labour Party’s move but reinforced its foothold in the parliament instead.

Northern Ireland minister James Brokenshire, who had resigned for health reasons, was replaced with Kren Bradley

Despite much hype, however, there was no sign that May was going to demote Foreign Secretary Johnson and replace him with Home Secretary Amber Rudd as some media outlets had claimed.

Johnson, a pro-Brexit campaigner during last year’s EU referendum, has on several occasions caused trouble for May by often proposing policies that differ from those touted by May and her cabinet.

The minister’s many blunders have also caused much trouble for London, forcing May to personally clean up after him.

Some of the people around May, including her former chief whip, Gavin Williamson, have advised her against the consequences of sacking senior Tory figures like Johnson and putting them on the backbenches.

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