Gavin Williamson removed as education secretary

Gavin Williamson removed as education secretary
Mr Williamson had faced calls for his dismissal since the GCSE and A-level exams debacle, more than a year ago

Gavin Williamson has been removed as education secretary in the first big move in Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle.

Mr Williamson announced on Twitter that he was leaving the job he has held since 2019 and indicated that he will be leaving the government altogether, something later confirmed by Downing Street.

The long-expected sacking comes more than a year after the bungled GCSE and A-level exams that first triggered widespread calls for him to go.

Robert Buckland, the justice secretary, has also been sacked, ending a curious alliance with Mr Johnson for one of the few pro-Europe figures around the Cabinet table.

His removal could create a vacancy for Dominic Raab, the under-fire foreign secretary, who – by taking on the title of Lord Chancellor, in the justice post – could carry on as the effective deputy prime minister, with the title First Secretary of State.

Speculation about Mr Raab’s future grew when he was spotted going into Mr Johnson’s Commons office, where the reshuffle was being carried out.

He has been facing criticism since staying on holiday in Crete as Afghanistan fell to the Taliban and for his department’s handling of the crisis, criticism voiced by Ben Wallace, the defence secretary.

Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary – who survived the scandal of unlawfully approving a planning application in a way that favoured a major Tory donor – became the third reshuffle casualty.

And there was speculation that Amanda Milling had lost her job as Tory chair, after she was spotted emerging from the prime minister’s office looking stony-faced.

i mellomtiden, Den uavhengige understands that the Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove is being offered Mr Jenrick’s job at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

His daunting in-tray would include huge court backlogs, a shortage of criminal lawyers and a controversial review of the Human Rights Act.

Mr Williamson tweeted: “It has been a privilege to serve as education secretary since 2019.

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

In an apparent signal that he will be returning to the backbenches, Mr Williamson added: “I look forward to continuing to support the prime minister and the government.”

Mr Buckland tweeted: “It has been an honour to serve in Government for the last 7 år, and as the Lord Chancellor for the last 2. I am deeply proud of everything I have achieved. On to the next adventure.”

Harriet Harman, Labour’s former deputy leader, tweeted her thanks to Mr Buckland “for the important changes you made on domestic violence & sex violence against women”.

But shadow education secretary Kate Green welcomed Mr Williamson’s removal.

“Gavin Williamson has failed children and young people, their parents and our hard-working education staff throughout one of the most testing periods in our history,” said Ms Green.

“Two years of exams chaos and staff abandoned, unsupported and demoralised. That is Gavin Williamson’s legacy.

“The prime minister has allowed this to happen, keeping a failing Education Secretary in post for months and refusing to fight for children’s futures.”

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