Rishi Sunak is ready for a small reshuffle after the fall of Nadhim Zahawi
Whitehall is getting ready for a “small reshuffle” as early as Tuesday, with prime minister Rishi Sunak to appoint a new party chairman and dissolve the sprawling business division.
Sunak has narrowed down his options for the new Conservative Party seat after he sacked Nadhim Zahawiprevious incumbent, nine days ago on his tax affairs.
But colleagues also say the prime minister is preparing to deliver on a promise he made last year – in his first bid for Tory leadership – to part ways with the Department of Business Strategy, Energy and Industry.
Two people briefed on Sunak’s thinking said they look forward to the creation of a new science department to help advance the prime minister’s vision of turning the UK into a new “Silicon Valley”.
That new division could see a merger of the science portfolio from BEIS with the technology responsibilities currently held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Sunak also promised last July to re-establish the energy division, stripping that responsibility away from BEIS, which is now headed by Grant Shapps.
“BEIS is having a hard time,” one person said briefly of Sunak’s thoughts. The PM is under heavy pressure from Labor and Tory MPs to come up with a more attractive growth strategy.
One option in this Whitehall overhaul is to bring commercial responsibilities, including export promotion, back to Shapps’ division, merging it with Kemi Badenoch’s Department of International Trade.
Downing Street declined to comment on Monday night but did not deny that a reshuffle was imminent. The need to replace Zahawi as party chairman has raised many expectations in Westminster of a broader disturbance.
Number 10’s ethics advisor, Sir Laurie Magnus noticed that Zahawi had ministerial code violation seven times in the processing of an estimated £5 million payment with HM Revenue & Customs.
The Conservative Party chairman plays a key role within the party, playing a key role in preparing for next year’s general election and raising campaign funds.
Gordon Brown, Labor prime minister until 2010, created separate business and energy divisions, which were later merged by Theresa May into the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy when she was still a teenager. is prime minister.
However, energy issues have become a serious political issue after the UK’s implementation of its “net zero 2050” climate target and since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sent gas prices skyrocketing and forced many Western countries have to rethink their domestic energy resilience.
Sunak said when running for Conservative leadership last July that he wanted to re-establish an energy ministry with a mandate to make the UK “energy independent”.
He also promised to create an “energy security committee” responsible for keeping the energy market running and reforming to reduce future bills.
Meanwhile, Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, is fighting for his political life in the face of an official report of multiple allegations of bullying, which he vehemently denies.
Sunak was urged by figures including the leader of the civil service association FDA suspending Raab until a top employment attorney’s investigation is complete.
Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labor party, is also said to be considering reform in the coming weeks.