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Rishi Sunak, Priti Patel retain top posts as UK PM Johnson reshuffles cabinet

By PTI

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday reshuffled his top team, with two senior Indian-origin cabinet ministers Rishi Sunak and Priti Patel in their positions.

Sunak will remain next to Johnson in Downing Street as his Chancellor of the Exchequer and Patel, who has been at the center of some speculation of a move, remains in his post as Home Secretary.

Sunak, son-in-law of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy, has been in his position since February last year and has led the UK’s financial response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Patel, whose parents are of Gujarati-Ugandan descent, has been home secretary since July 2019.

However, the senior ministers being reshuffled include Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who accepted a demotion to take over as the new Justice Secretary, along with his other roles of Lord Chancellor and Deputy Prime Minister.

Raab, who has come under fire in recent weeks for the Taliban’s handling of Afghanistan’s collapse and evacuation efforts from Kabul, is at the center of speculation about his future as head of foreign, Commonwealth and development Was. Office (FCDO) ?? One of the highest cabinet positions in the British government.

He has been replaced by Liz Truss, promoted from the role of International Trade Secretary.

Earlier this week, he concluded the latest round of trade talks with Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.

Meanwhile, Raab will instead step down from Robert Buckland, who was involved in three major dismissals from cabinet including Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.

Earlier, Downing Street said Prime Minister Johnson would reshuffle his top team to “build a strong and cohesive team to better build back from the pandemic”.

The process was initiated shortly after the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQ) session in the House of Commons, which saw reports of dismissals following new appointments of previously dismissed ministers.

Johnson is expected to complete the reshuffle of his cabinet on Wednesday, with a change in lower ministerial ranks to be finalized on Thursday.

Gavin Williamson was widely expected to be sacked after sharp criticism for his handling of the disruption to schools and exams during the pandemic.

He confirmed that he had left the role in a tweet, saying: “It is my privilege to serve as Secretary of Education since 2019.

“Despite the challenges of the global pandemic, I am particularly proud of the transformational reforms in post-16 education: in further education colleges, our skills agenda, apprenticeships and more.”

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