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Are East Anglian ministers set for the chop in next month’s reshuffle?

PUBLISHED: 16:30 27 January 2020

Elizabeth Truss and Dr Therese Coffey were both environment ministers when they visisted Blythburgh Pork in Suffolk - but are they on their way out of the cabinet together? Picture: OFFICE OF DR THERESE COFFEY

Elizabeth Truss and Dr Therese Coffey were both environment ministers when they visisted Blythburgh Pork in Suffolk - but are they on their way out of the cabinet together? Picture: OFFICE OF DR THERESE COFFEY

Archant

East Anglian cabinet ministers are facing an anxious few weeks as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares what is expected to be a major cabinet reshuffle next month – with speculation that two from this region could be heading the backbenches.

Work and Pensions Secretary and Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey and International Trade Secretary and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss are both thought to be vulnerable in any reshuffle.

Home Secretary and Witham MP Priti Patel is thought to be safe - she has made a good impression on the Prime Minister in her new job since being appointed in the summer - and Great Yarmouth MP and former party chairman Brandon Lewis is tipped for promotion.

Mr Johnson and his key advisor Dominic Cummings are thought to feel that the Cabinet has become too large. It has 23 full members and other ministers are "invited to attend" its meetings bringing the number around the famous table in Number 10 Downing Street to up to 33.

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Some departments are due to be wound up after Brexit - the Departments for Exiting the EU and International Trade - but others are also thought to be at risk including Culture and International Development.

Mr Johnson is thought to be keen to reward and promote ministers who are seen to be very effective at running departments - and not necessarily strong media performers.

Dr Coffey would be particularly disappointed to lose her department only five months after being promoted to the cabinet after the sudden departure of Amber Rudd. She has been a loyal supporter of the Prime Minister, but is seen by some as an "accidental cabinet minister" who reached the top table unexpectedly.

Ms Truss is thought of as a capable media performer who did well during the election campaign - but probably has not done enough to retain her position when her department is merged with others.

Others expected to leave the government include Jacob Rees-Mogg, Esther McVey and Andrea Leadsom.

The reshuffle is expected to take place during the first half of February once the UK has formally come out of the EU - Friday February 7 or February 14 are believed to be the favourites for the announcement.

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