Dinenage ‘sacked’ in brutal cabinet reshuffle

By Connor Steel / Photograph by Julian Parker

GOSPORT MP Caroline Dinenage has been ‘sacked’ from her ministerial position with the Department of Culture, Media & Sport, becoming the latest victim of Boris Johnson’s brutal and wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle that started after Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday afternoon.

The announcement was reported on Wednesday night (September 15), before being officially confirmed yesterday morning as junior roles were decided by the Conservative Party leader.

Ms Dinenage’s exit comes just 19 months after she was appointed a minister within DCMS in the last major reshuffle of February 2020, with a huge revamp of that department beginning when Secretary of State Oliver Dowden was made co-chairman of the Tory party. Soon afterwards, Nadine Dorries was promoted to the new cabinet as head of the DCMS, with the Gosport MP implying her own role was over in a tweet.

She posted: “Congratulations @NadineDorries who’ll be a star @DCMS. It’s been a joy to work in such a great department for the last 19 months, with such dedicated & professional teams, not least #CultureRecoveryFund & #OnlineSafetyBill. After 6 years as a Minister I’m off to the back-benches!”

The news came at the same time as John Whittingdale confirmed he was stepping down as a culture data minister within the DCMS.  It means Ms Dinenage’s junior ministerial run has ended following stints as a Health & Care frontbencher under both David Cameron and Theresa May before switching departments in early 2020.

But with Boris Johnson currently hosting USA speaker Nancy Pelosi and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi in Downing Street after speaking in the House of Common yesterday morning, it has been a quiet day for  big reshuffle announcements and no replacements have yet been made public. As it stands, though, the Gosport MP is not expected to be given any similar roles in this reshuffle, which means she will return to join 300 Tory representatives in the back rows of the Commons – although this could change at any point.

Neighbouring constituency representative Suella Braverman was re-appointed the Attorney General – which came as little surprise considering the Fareham MP has only recently returned from six months maternity leave. But there will be plenty of new members when the cabinet meets face-to-face on Tuesday morning.

Gavin Williamson (Education), Robert Buckland (Justice) and Robert Jenerick (Housing) were all removed from their posts in cabinet, while Dominic Raab was demoted to Justice Secretary, Lord Chancellor and Deputy Prime Minister. The former Foreign Secretary was said to be “very angry” at this news, but it came as no surprise to many after his handling of the crisis in Afghanistan.

Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi was promoted to Education Secretary, while Liz Truss is now Foreign Secretary after her success with International Trade – the first woman to jold the position since Margaret Beckett in 2006.  Anne-Marie Trevelyan has replaced her as Trade Secretary; ex-Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay is the new Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Michael Gove has been given the job of Education Secretary in the final big change of the immediate cabinet positions.

Unsurprisingly, Rishi Sunak – one of the rising stars of the pandemic – continues as Chancellor, while Sajid Javid has remained as Health Secretary. Priti Patel (Home), Ben Wallace (Defence), George Eustice (Environment), Grant Shapps (Transport), Kwasi Kwarteng (Business), Alok Sharma (COP26 President) and Therese Coffey (Work & Pensions) have all kept their places in the cabinet. There are also no changes to the secretaries of the devolved administrations, with Alister Jack (Scottish), Simon Hart (Welsh) and Brandon Lewis (Northern Irish) all remaining in their respective posts.

Jacob Rees-Mogg and Baroness Evans will remain the leaders of the House and Lords; while Kit Malthouse (Home Office and Justice), Mark Spencer (Chief Whip) and Michelle Donelan are unchanged in job responsibilities. A visual representation of the new and updated Cabinet can be found on BBC News, with coverage across the media expected to last until the end of this week.