LONDON | British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, after weeks of intense rumors, will reshuffle his government on Wednesday to form a “united team” for the post-pandemic, a source said in Downing Street.
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Several ministers are criticized for their performance and given on departure, without Boris Johnson, looking for a second wind after a year and a half of the pandemic, officially confirming his willingness to thank them.
“The Prime Minister will make a reshuffle today to build a strong, united team to build back better after the pandemic,” a source told Downing Street.
“Yesterday, the Prime Minister presented his Covid management plan for the fall and winter. But the government must also redouble its efforts to respond to the priorities of the population, ”she explained.
“The Prime Minister will appoint ministers this afternoon, with the aim of uniting and leveling up the whole country,” she added.
This announcement comes at a delicate time for the 57-year-old head of the Conservative government, who arrived at 10 Downing Street in the summer of 2019 and largely won the legislative elections of December 2019, won with the promise to achieve the Brexit voted in 2016.
A recent poll by the YouGov institute showed a drop in popularity of the Conservatives (to 33%), overtaken by the Labor Party (35%) for the first time since the start of the year.
The government is paying in particular for the announcement of an increase in social security contributions intended to bail out the public health system brought down by the Covid-19 pandemic and to reform the dependency sector.
This brings taxes to the highest level since the post-WWII era despite the Conservatives’ election promise not to raise taxes.
The British press regularly echoes Boris Johnson’s supposed desire to part ways with certain heavyweights in his government.
Education Minister Gavin Williamson is criticized for handling school closures during the pandemic, Home Secretary Priti Patel for his inability to reduce arrivals of illegal migrants through the Channel and Foreign Minister Dominic Raab the failed evacuations from Kabul after the Taliban returned to power last month.
Among the possible promoted, the press often quotes the Minister of International Trade Liz Truss, currently responsible for concluding the new free trade agreements promised by Boris Johnson following Brexit, effective since January 31, 2020.
The period is also difficult for the government, which in July lifted most of the anti-Covid restrictions despite the Delta variant, leaving contaminations to remain at a high level (around 30,000 per day).
The return to school and the arrival of autumn and its share of seasonal viruses such as influenza, raise fears of a difficult situation in hospitals in the weeks to come.
The government’s plans unveiled on Tuesday to prepare for this winter are essentially based on a vaccination booster campaign against Covid-19, with recourse only in the event of significant degradation of barrier gestures such as indoor masks, teleworking or vaccination passport.
The United Kingdom is one of the countries most bereaved by the pandemic in Europe with more than 134,000 dead.