Boris makes new cabinet 'parrot policies like children' in meeting


Boris Johnson quizzed his new cabinet on his policies and got them to ‘parrot them back like school children’ in their first meeting this morning.

The prime minister sacked eight ministers on Thursday in a ‘brutal’ reshuffle that was eventually dominated by former Chancellor Sajid Javid’s decision to quit after a row over his advisers.

On Friday, a beaming Rishi Sunak took his place next to the Conservative leader at No. 10 after being handed Mr Javid’s job, alongside other newcomers including Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Oliver Dowden and George Eustice.

The meeting saw the PM congratulate those present on ‘achieving or retaining’ their jobs and advise them to focus on delivering election promises – but bemusement was sparked when he engaged his team in a call and response activity that was later named ‘cultish’.
Boris Johnson speaks flanked by his new Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak following a reshuffle at Downing Street (Picture: Getty Images)
The new Conservative cabinet that will lead the country (Picture: Getty Images)

Footage shows Mr Johnson telling those in the room that they need to ‘deliver for the people of this country who have elected us to serve them’ and ‘get on with our basic work’.

He tells them ‘you know what it is’, before asking: ‘How many hospitals are we going to build?’

In unison, they all reply: ’44’.

The prime minister praises them, saying ‘well done’ and then asks: ‘How many more police officers?’

All together, they respond: ‘20,000’.

Mr Johnson says ‘that’s right. How many more nurses?’, prompting the cabinet to say ‘50,000’.

Pleased with his team, the Tory leader says: ‘Exactly.’
Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid leaves his home in London, Britain February 14, 2020. (Picture: Reuters)
The Tory leader told his team to focus on delivering Tory election promises in their first meeting (Picture: Getty Images)

When he enthusiastically asks ‘how many more buses?’, the question prompts a pause before the Conservative cabinet bursts into laughter.

Ensuring they all know the number, the smiling prime minister clarifies: ‘4,000 low carbon buses.’

His method was criticised online by some who compared it to ‘the first day in nursery school’.

One Twitter user said: ‘How childish – how disingenuous and how sickening’, while another wrote: ‘Putting aside how creepy and cultish this all is, the government are not building 40 new hospitals and they’re not recruiting 50,000 new nurses.

‘These are lies from Boris Johnson which failed to stand up to fact checking but the cabinet are parroting them anyway.’

Someone else claimed: ‘Sounds like a fairly standard test to ensure the drone programming has been optimised.’

Boris Johnson's 2020 cabinet reshuffle

Who is in and who is out as the PM makes brutal changes to his cabinet - losing high-profile MPs and welcoming a 'new generation of talent'...

SACKED: Andrea Leadsom, Business Secretary

SACKED: Julian Smith, Northern Ireland Secretary

SACKED: Theresa Villiers, Environment Secretary

SACKED: Geoffrey Cox, Attorney General

SACKED: Esther McVey, Housing minister

SACKED: Nusrat Ghani, Transport minister

SACKED: Chris Skidmore, Universities and Science minister

SACKED: George Freeman, Transport minister

QUIT: Sajid Javid, Chancellor of the Exchequer

QUIT: Nicky Morgan, Culture Secretary

HIRED: Rishi Sunak becomes new Chancellor of the Exchequer

HIRED: Anne-Marie Trevelyan becomes new International Development Secretary

HIRED: Oliver Dowden becomes new Culture Secretary

HIRED: Suella Braverman becomes new Attorney General

HIRED: George Eustice becomes new Environment Secretary

HIRED: Brandon Lewis becomes Northern Ireland Secretary

HIRED: Stephen Barclay becomes Chief Secretary to the Treasury

HIRED: Penny Mordaunt becomes Paymaster General

STAYING PUT: Priti Patel, Home Secretary

STAYING PUT: Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary

STAYING PUT: Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

STAYING PUT: Matt Hancock, Health Secretary

STAYING PUT: Robert Buckland, Justice Secretary

STAYING PUT: Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary

STAYING PUT: Lizz Truss, International Trade Secretary

STAYING PUT: Therese Coffey, Work and Pensions Secretary

STAYING PUT: Ben Wallace, Defence Secretary

STAYING PUT: Gavin Williamson, Education Secretary

STAYING PUT: Jacob Rees-Mogg, Commons leader

STAYING PUT: Simon Hart, Secretary of State for Wales

STAYING PUT: Alister Jack, Scotland Secretary

MOVE: Alok Sharma, from International Development Secretary to Business Secretary. He will also be minister for the Cop26 UN climate summit

This is a live list and will be updated.

Mr Javid wished Mr Johnson a ‘happy Valentine’s Day’ while leaving his London home this morning when he was asked if he had a message for the prime minister following his shock departure from government.

The British politician had been due to deliver a budget in less than a month, but left yesterday when he was ordered to fire his closest aides and replace them with advisers chosen by Number 10.

He has accused Mr Johnson of setting conditions ‘any self-respecting minister’ would reject in what some may see as a thinly-veiled swipe at his successor Mr Sunak.

Mr Javid is now the shortest-serving Chancellor in 50 years after serving in the post for less than seven months.

He told the BBC: ‘These are people that have worked incredibly hard on behalf of, not just the government, but the whole country, [and] have done a fantastic job.

‘I was unable to accept those conditions. I don’t believe any self-respecting minister would accept such conditions and so therefore I felt the best thing to do was to go.’