Downing Street stokes speculation about new year Cabinet reshuffle

Downing Street has fuelled speculation that Boris Johnson is plotting a new year Cabinet reshuffle after saying he has no plans for changes "just now".

The Prime Minister's press secretary Allegra Stratton said Mr Johnson is "happy" with his senior ministers.

She told a briefing for Westminster journalists: "He is happy with his top team and as far as I know there is no reshuffle planned just now and there is plenty to be getting on with."

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Downing Street Press Secretary Allegra Stratton arrives at Downing Street, in London, Britain, November 12, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Allegra Stratton, recently appointed press secretary for the British government, walks up Downing Street in London, England, on October 14, 2020. Stratton, a former journalist currently serving as spokeswoman for Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, will lead daily televised briefings beginning next month. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 12: Downing Street Press Secretary Allegra Stratton arrives at 10 Downing Street on November 12, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Britain's political press was abuzz with rumours of tension at Number 10 following the resignation of communications director Lee Cain, whose departure was reported to have upset Dominic Cummings, senior aide to the prime minister and Vote Leave veteran. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Allegra Stratton, the face of Downing Street's new daily televised press briefings in Downing Street, London, the morning after Lee Cain announced he is resigning as Downing Street's director of communications and will leave the post at the end of the year. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images)
Allegra Stratton, the face of Downing Street's new daily televised press briefings, enters 10 Downing Street, London, the day after Lee Cain announced he is resigning as Downing Street's director of communications and will leave the post at the end of the year. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
Allegra Stratton (L), 10 Downing street Press Secretary speaks to a colleague in central London on November 12, 2020. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Lord Dubs (right) and Allegra Stratton (centre) of The Guardian compete in the annual Parliamentary Pancake Race in Westminster, London, along with other journalists, MPs and members of the House of Lords, to raise money for the charity Rehab and to raise awareness of it's work for people with disabilities.
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Her comments appear to leave open the door to changes in the new year amid reports Mr Johnson wants to "reset" his Government following the departure of his top adviser Dominic Cummings.

Pressed on the prospects of a reshuffle after Christmas, Ms Stratton said she is not aware of anything – although she did not rule it out.

"I am not aware that a reshuffle is even on the cards for the new year. It is just not something I have heard," she said.

In the past Downing Street has always refused to comment officially on any possible changes to ministerial positions until they are announced.

Ms Stratton also strongly defended Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove amid unhappiness among Tory MPs that he has been leading the charge in Government for stricter coronavirus controls.

"Michael Gove has been doing an excellent job at the Cabinet Office, which is at the heart of Government on so many of these critical issues," she said.

"If it's not Covid, then it's Brexit. If it's not transition and whether or not we're prepared then it's also the union and the United Kingdom and making sure our relations with the devolved authorities and administrations continue to be good.

"Michael Gove is at the heart of the most critical projects."

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