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UK PM to reshuffle cabinet later Wednesday: govt source

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Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in central London on September 15, 2021, to take part in the weekly session of Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) at the House of Commons. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson will carry out a cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, a government source said, plunging the future of Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in doubt over his handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal.

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After days of speculation, a Downing Street source confirmed that Johnson would change his top team, saying it would “put in place a strong and united team to build back better from the pandemic”.

“The PM will be appointing ministers this afternoon with a focus on uniting and levelling up the whole country,” the source added.

The focus will be on Raab and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who were notably absent from Johnson’s side on the front bench of the House of Commons at his weekly question and answer session.

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Raab, who deputised for Johnson last April when he was in hospital intensive care with Covid, has faced sustained criticism for his handling of the Afghanistan crisis.

The former lawyer was on holiday on a Greek island as the government scrambled to evacuate British nationals and Afghan staff as the Taliban advanced and seized power.

Williamson meanwhile has faced a barrage of complaints about his handling of school closures, examination arrangements and university admissions during the coronavirus emergency.

Trade Secretary Liz Truss, who has brokered a series of deals since Britain’s full departure from the European Union in January, has been tipped to replace Raab.

Brexit point man Michael Gove has been suggested as a replacement for Home Secretary Priti Patel, another arch Brexiteer who has been under pressure due to a surge in migrant crossings from France, along with bullying claims.

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