January 28. 2023. 7:53

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UK PM Johnson reshuffles team in move to rescue his administration


Johnson had pledged to reset his premiership to turn the tide on his gravest crisis yet, which is fueled by the fall-out from a number of boozy parties in his Downing Street office and residence during strict COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

The changes did not include any of the senior cabinet positions.

After appointing new hires to his team in Number 10, Johnson then reshuffled his "whips" operation — the team of lawmakers who enforce discipline in the governing Conservative Party to make sure lawmakers back government policy.

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Mark Spencer, who was the chief whip, was replaced by lawmaker Chris Heaton-Harris, a close ally of Johnson who has been working shore up support among lawmakers during months of reports about lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street.

Spencer becomes the leader of parliament’s lower chamber, the House of Commons, taking over from Jacob Rees-Mogg, who was appointed minister for Brexit opportunities and government efficiency.

Earlier, Johnson’s spokesman said the prime minister had again told his cabinet of top ministers to get on with the job of delivering policies to improve people’s lives.

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"The PM opened cabinet by setting out the changes that have been delivered over the last week and the need to further deliver on the people’s priorities," the spokesman said.

Johnson promised his lawmakers last week that he would shake up operations in his Number 10 office. Four of his closest aides resigned on last Thursday (3 February).

Lawmaker Andrew Griffith was appointed head of Johnson’s policy department and cabinet office minister Stephen Barclay has become his new chief of staff. Over the weekend, he appointed a former colleague, Guto Harri, as his new director of communications.

Several Conservative lawmakers as well as the leaders of the three main opposition parties have demanded that Johnson resign. The oppposition accuses him of habitual lying and misleading parliament — charges he has brushed aside.

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