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PM Johnson Fills Key Number 10 Roles In Preparation For Leadership Challenge


UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced two appointments for key Downing Street roles over the weekend, as he prepares to fend off a mounting Tory rebellion. The Prime Minister tapped Cabinet Office minister Steve Barclay as his new chief of staff, and Guto Harri as his director of communications. The Times reported that Barclay will relinquish many of his Cabinet Office responsibilities to focus on his work at Number 10.

  • The nominations were preceded by a string of resignations from the Prime Minister's key aides last week, as the turmoil caused by the "Partygate" scandal has resulted in unusually rapid turnover of Number 10 staff.
  • According to the Telegraph, the appointment of Mr Barclay has sparked backlash from Tories and Whitehall insiders, who called the idea of combining the roles of an MP, a Cabinet Office minister, and a chief of staff at Number 10 an "impossible juggling act" and a "recipe for chaos."
  • Critics of Boris Johnson suggested that he is fighting an uphill battle, with the number of no-confidence letters submitted by Tory lawmakers reportedly nearing the threshold of 54 needed to trigger a leadership contest. Charles Walker, an influential Conservative MP, told the Observer that Borish Johnson's departure is "inevitable."
  • The Times reported that the Prime Minister is bracing himself for a no-confidence vote by Conservative lawmakers as soon as this week. It is unclear how many Tories have sent their letters, but the newspaper cited Johnson's aides estimating that the number is between 35 and 45.
  • The Telegraph reported that Johnson's "multi-billion plan to tackle the NHS backlog has been delayed after the Treasury blocked an announcement due to be made on Monday." While sources cited concerns over "value for money," there have been signs of tensions between the Treasury and Number 10, while several anonymous Cabinet ministers told the Times that Chancellor Sunak has been plotting to "hasten the PM's departure."

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