Rishi Sunak’s cabinet reshuffle sees Hands replace Zahawi
Rishi Sunak is reportedly eyeing a major reshuffle of his Cabinet after months of heading to close the gap between the Tories and Labour.
Over the weekend, Sky reported that No. 10 is considering a “three-prong plan of attack” in order to get the Tories back on track.
One of the three prongs being considered is a “bold” reshuffle to signal a “reset” of the Government a year before the election.
No. 10 may be persuaded to pursue the significant change to Mr Sunak’s top team after a poll out this morning showed his Cabinet to be roundly unpopular even with Tory Party members.
The poll of members, conducted by the Conservative Home website, shows a record six senior Cabinet Members in negative ratings among the Tory grassroots – including Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Grant Shapps.
Suella Braverman is reportedly “near the top of those who could be axed” in a summer reshuffle, along with Kemi Badenoch, Therese Coffey and Steve Barclay.
Any reshuffle would likely occur towards the end of the summer, ahead of the Tories’ October conference.
Mr Sunak previously held discussions about sacking Jeremy Hunt after his last Budget was seen to be “lacklustre” by those in No. 10, however, it’s now “overwhelmingly likely” he’ll stay in his post until the election.
A new poll by the Tory bible Conservative Home shows a record number of Cabinet ministers now receiving net disapproval among Mr Sunak’s own party members.
Last month only Environment Secretary Therese Coffey saw more Tory members disapprove of her than approve, however just one month on she has been joined by no fewer than six other senior Tories.
Michael Gove, Grant Shapps, Andrew Mitchell, Jeremy Hunt and Robert Jenrick have all dipped well into net negative approval among Tory members.
Rishi Sunak’s own popularity has halved since last month among Conservative Party members, dropping from 47.4 to 21.6.
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The Conservative Home blog, which runs the monthly poll of members, says the record number of Cabinet Ministers now in negative territory among members shows the party base is “thoroughly fed up with the Government as a whole”.
Suella Braverman has also dropped almost 10 points, after a month involving record high immigration figures, the row about her speeding fine and her controversial speech to the National Conservative conference.
Kemi Badenoch has also seen a drop of 13.7 points, after a month that saw her lose favour among Brexiteers for dropping the pledge to abolish all retained EU law by the end of the year.
Party chairman Greg Hands is also significantly down on last month after the party’s disastrous showing at the local elections and loss of 1000 seats. Mr Hands has dropped by 14.3.
Penny Mordaunt is one of the only winners in the latest poll, having shot up from fourth place on 49.5 to second place on 62.4, after her sword-bearing performance at the Coronation and continued viral moments at the dispatch box taking on Labour and the SNP.
She remains behind Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who has been a favourite of the party’s grassroots since the start of the Ukraine war.
As well as scoring -7.4 among the Tory members’ poll by Conservative Home, Jeremy Hunt sits in negative polling among the British public, and could lose his seat at the election.
Since forming his Government when become PM last year, Mr Sunak has already lost Gavin Williamson, Nadhim Zahawi and Dominic Raab through resignations and sackings.
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