Johnson names two new aides
Boris Johnson has announced two new appointments to his backroom staff following a wave of resignations earlier this week.
Cabinet Office minister Steve Barclay will become the PM’s chief of staff.
And Guto Harri – a former BBC correspondent and adviser to Johnson when he was mayor of London – will become director of communications.
Johnson said the shake-up would “improve how No. 10 operates”.
It comes at the end of a difficult week for the PM, which saw five No 10 aides resign in 24 hours and the publication of the initial findings of the Sue Gray report into events at Downing Street while Covid restrictions were in place.
Three of the departed senior aides were caught up in the lockdown parties row, including senior civil servant Martin Reynolds who sent out an invitation to a “bring your own booze” party.
But policy chief Munira Mirza quit over the PM’s false claim that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile when he was director of public prosecutions, and Johnson’s refusal to apologise.
Announcing the two new appointments, Johnson said: “This week I promised change, so that we can get on with the job the British public elected us to do.
“The changes I’m announcing to my senior team today will improve how No 10 operates, strengthen the role of my cabinet and backbench colleagues, and accelerate our defining mission to level up the country.”
And Barclay tweeted it was “an honour” – adding he would continue to serve in the Cabinet Office.
Labour called the new appointments a farce, accusing Boris Johnson of “panicking as he frantically rearranges deckchairs”.
“The prime minister has clearly run out of serious people willing to serve under his chaotic and incompetent leadership, so now expects a Cabinet minister to be his chief of staff,” said deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner.
Tony Blair’s former chief of staff Jonathan Powell also asked how Barclay could continue as an MP. (BBC)