Boris Johnson’s new-look Cabinet today agreed to the Prime Minister’s plans to introduce an Australian-style points-based immigration system at the start of 2021.
The PM’s freshly reshuffled top team met for the first time in Downing Street this morning and rubber-stamped the proposed post-Brexit border control system which the government has guaranteed will result in immigration going down.
However, Number 10 was unable to say exactly when overall immigration numbers will start to fall under the new rules.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: ‘Following discussion, Cabinet agreed the implementation of a points-based immigration system from January 1, 2021.
‘The system will be simpler and fairer and will not discriminate between countries and would return democratic control of immigration to the British people.
‘The PM stressed that we must demonstrate that the UK is open and welcoming to talent from across the world but the new system would end reliance on importing cheap, low-skilled labour – bringing down immigration numbers overall.’
The government is expected to publish its immigration plans in full in the coming weeks.
The meeting of the Cabinet came after the PM conducted a brutal reshuffle yesterday which saw Sajid Javid forced to resign as Chancellor as Rishi Sunak was promoted to replace him.
A beaming Mr Sunak sat next to Mr Johnson at today’s meeting as the PM told his senior ministers: ‘We are here to deliver for the people of this country who elected us to serve them.
‘The people’s government has to get on with delivering the people’s priorities and in the next few years we must get on with our basic work and you know what it is.
‘We are going to cut crime, we are going to cut homelessness, we are going to tackle waiting lists in our NHS and how many hospitals are we going to build?’
The Cabinet then replied in unison ‘forty’ as the PM proceeded to conduct further rounds of call and response on other Tory manifesto pledges.
The gathering in Downing Street came after a day of high drama which left Westminster stunned as Mr Javid’s unexpected resignation totally disrupted the PM’s plans for a smooth reshuffle.
Boris Johnson’s new-look Cabinet met for the first time today as it agreed to the PM’s plans to introduce a points-based immigration system from January 2021
Mr Johnson congratulated ministers on making the cut at the reshuffle as he told them they must now deliver on the ‘people’s priorities’
Mr Johnson yesterday conducted a brutal reshuffle which saw him sack numerous senior ministers and promote a wave of Tory loyalists
Rishi Sunak sticks to Sajid Javid’s call for ministers to find 5% in savings
Rishi Sunak has reiterated a call made by his predecessor as chancellor Sajid Javid for ministers to identify five per cent of budget savings at their respective departments.
Mr Sunak is under pressure to loosen the government purse strings after taking over from his old boss.
But a drive to ensure taxpayers’ money is being spent as effectively as possible will be continued on his watch.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the matter had been raised at this morning’s meeting of the reshuffled Cabinet.
‘The Chancellor reminded all ministers that their departments needed to find five per cent of savings so money could be reprioritised on other priorities,’ he said.
Mr Javid chose to walk away from the government rather than accept a demand from Mr Johnson’s strategy chief Dominic Cummings to sack all of his aides and replace them with advisers chosen by Number 10.
His departure opened the way for Mr Sunak, 39, to be handed the second most powerful job in government having previously served as Mr Javid’s deputy as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
Mr Javid accused Mr Johnson of setting conditions ‘any self-respecting minister’ would reject – a thinly veiled swipe at his successor.
The move was seen as a power grab by Mr Cummings with Mr Sunak reportedly immediately under pressure from Number 10 to tear up his predecessor’s tight spending rules and allow Mr Johnson to splash the cash at the next Budget.
But the elevation of Mr Sunak has cast doubt on whether that Budget, currently scheduled for March 11, will go ahead amid speculation it could be delayed.
Downing Street refused to guarantee the date with a spokesman saying only that ‘extensive preparations have already been carried out for the Budget and they will continue at pace’.
Meanwhile, accusations of a power grab were likely to grow after it emerged that Downing Street immediately moved some of its troops into the Treasury last night to help Mr Sunak.
The shake-up saw Sajid Javid, pictured leaving his London home this morning, quit the government as he refused a demand from Dominic Cummings to sack all of his aides
Mr Cummings appeared to be in good spirits as he was photographed leaving his London home this morning. The PM’s top adviser declined to answer questions
Who is in Boris Johnson’s new-look Cabinet
Chancellor: Rishi Sunak
Foreign Secretary: Dominic Raab
Home Secretary: Priti Patel
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Michael Gove
Justice Secretary: Robert Buckland
Defence Secretary: Ben Wallace
Health Secretary: Matt Hancock
Business Secretary: Alok Sharma
Trade Secretary: Liz Truss
Work and Pensions Secretary: Therese Coffey
Education Secretary: Gavin Williamson
Environment Secretary: George Eustice
Housing Secretary: Robert Jenrick
Transport Secretary: Grant Shapps
Culture Secretary: Oliver Dowden
International Development Secretary: Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Leader of the House of Lords: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
Northern Ireland Secretary: Brandon Lewis
Scottish Secretary: Alister Jack
Welsh Secretary: Simon Hart
Attorney General: Suella Braverman
Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Stephen Barclay
Minister without Portfolio: Amanda Milling
Paymaster General: Penny Mordaunt
Chief Whip: Mark Spencer
Bitter Sajid Javid wages war of words against PM
Sajid Javid today wished Boris Johnson a ‘happy Valentine’s Day’ as the relationship between the two former allies grew increasingly bitter.
Mr Javid resigned as chancellor yesterday after he refused to bow to demands from Dominic Cummings to sack all of his aides and accept a team of Number 10 advisers.
Following his bombshell departure from the government, Mr Javid said the terms offered by the Prime Minister could not be accepted by ‘any self-respecting minister’ – a direct swipe at his successor Rishi Sunak.
He also told Mr Johnson in his resignation letter that he believed it was ‘important as leaders to have trusted teams that reflect the character and integrity that you would wish to be associated with’ – a thinly-veiled attack on Mr Cummings, the PM’s top adviser.
Mr Javid’s war of words with the new look government and the PM continued this morning when he was asked if he had a message for Mr Johnson.
Leaving his London home, Mr Javid replied with a smile: ‘Happy Valentine’s Day.’
That came ahead of the creation of a ‘joint’ economic unit in the coming days which will be based across Number 10 and the Treasury and will be tasked with making key decisions, changing a power dynamic in Whitehall which has existed for decades.
Numerous other senior figures also left the government yesterday as Mr Johnson wielded the axe.
Julian Smith was unceremoniously dumped as Northern Ireland secretary just weeks after brokering a deal which restored the power-sharing administration at Stormont.
Andrea Leadsom was sacked as business secretary, Theresa Villiers lost her job as environment secretary and Geoffrey Cox was removed from his post as attorney general.
Esther McVey lost her role as housing minister, and the total number of women attending Cabinet fell from eight to seven – while the total number of ministers attending shrank from 32 to 26.
But there were a series of promotions for Tory MPs loyal to Mr Johnson.
Alok Sharma was promoted from international development to become the new Business Secretary and he will also be minister for the COP26 UN climate summit, which is due to take place in Glasgow in November.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan joined the Cabinet as International Development Secretary, having previously been a defence minister.
Oliver Dowden became a full Cabinet member as Culture Secretary, having previously attended the meetings as paymaster general, and George Eustice was promoted to Environment Secretary from his previous more junior role in the same department.
Brandon Lewis was appointed as Northern Ireland Secretary, while former Brexit minister Suella Braverman returned to the Government as Attorney General.
Ex-Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay has replaced Mr Sunak as Treasury Chief Secretary.
Amanda Milling was made Conservative Party chairman – a role in which she will attend Cabinet as a minister without portfolio.
Former defence secretary Penny Mordaunt returned to government as Paymaster General based in the Cabinet Office.
Mr Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel today briefed the Cabinet on the UK’s new immigration system as ministers rubberstamped the proposed blueprint.
It is thought the new rules could reduce the number of low-skilled migrant workers from European Union countries by up to 90,000 a year.
Under existing rules workers from the EU and European Economic Area countries can come to the UK to live or work without a visa.
EU freedom of movement to the UK is due to end at the conclusion of the Brexit transition period in December with the new system rolled out at the start of 2021.
The new system is expected to close the route for low-skilled migrants though short-term visas will be considered for occupations experiencing shortages.
Meanwhile, Mr Javid’s war of words with the new look government and the PM continued this morning when he was asked if he had a message for Mr Johnson.
Rishi Sunak, pictured right arriving in Downing Street this morning, replaced Mr Javid as Chancellor. Stephen Barclay returned to Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Suella Braverman, pictured left, and Anne-Marie Trevelyan, pictured right, were both promoted to the Cabinet yesterday
Matt Hancock, pictured in Downing Street this morning, and Michael Gove were among a raft of senior ministers who were kept in their existing roles in the Cabinet
Ex-Tory Cabinet minister Rory Stewart tweeted a picture of Theresa May’s final cabinet and pointed out that the vast majority were no longer in government
Leading ally of PM quits government after being asked to give up Northern Powerhouse role
Jake Berry, a long-standing ally of Boris Johnson, has left the government after being asked to give up his role as Northern Powerhouse minister.
Mr Berry said he had been offered another ministerial position which would have required ‘substantial amounts’ of foreign travel.
But the Tory MP for Rossendale and Darwen has three children under the age of three and declined the offer on the grounds that ‘family will always come first’.
He will now return to the backbenches. A successor for Mr Berry is yet to be announced by Number 10.
Leaving his London home, Mr Javid replied with a smile: ‘Happy Valentine’s Day.’
Mr Johnson reportedly moved to bring the Treasury to heel at the reshuffle due to fears that he and Mr Javid could end up like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
The later years of the New Labour governments were dominated by the fractious relationship between Mr Blair and Mr Brown and Mr Johnson apparently did not want to repeat history.
Instead he wants to mimic the more harmonious relationship between David Cameron and George Osborne during their time in power.
One Number 10 source told The Telegraph: ‘The PM says the model for success is watertight cooperation between Number 10 and 11, like Dave and George, not a Tony and Gordon situation.
‘That has long been the belief. It’s all about delivery, the best way to deliver on the promises we made to this country.’