LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved quickly to plug holes in his cabinet caused by Tuesday’s resignations of two senior ministers, including the critical post of Chancellor of the Exchequer, which went to Nadhim Zahawi, who had been education secretary.
In moving quickly to replace the two cabinet ministers who resigned on Tuesday, Mr Johnson sought to stabilize his government at a time of acute crisis by appointing replacements seen as having strong track records.
The appointment of Mr. Zahawi is an important promotion. He was only introduced to the cabinet last year, after overseeing the successful rollout of the coronavirus vaccine. He now takes on the daunting task of directing economic policy as inflation soars into double digits and Britain faces the possibility of a recession.
Mr Zahawi has been replaced as education secretary by Michelle Donelan.
The post of Health Secretary went to Steve Barclay – who had been a minister in the Cabinet Office, which plays a coordination role in government – and was recently appointed as Mr Johnson’s chief of staff.
But the stunning departures of Rishi Sunak as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Sajid Javid as Health Secretary have forced an emergency reshuffle in a Prime Minister that has tipped from crisis to crisis. He still has not replaced Oliver Dowden, who left the Conservative Party co-chairmanship last month.
Mr Barclay had only been appointed Downing Street chief of staff in February, as part of a move to improve the functioning of Mr Johnson’s office after the ‘partygate’ scandal involving unlawful gatherings at the coronavirus closures. This will leave yet another void to fill.