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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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Top Stories: Government Department Reshuffle, UK Sends Earthquake Rescue Support

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been restructured (Alamy)

4 min read

The prime minister is expected to announce his first reshuffle of cabinet ministers and government departments since taking office.

After last week marked Rishi Sunak's first 100 days as Prime Minister, on Tuesday morning he is due to announce his first cabinet reshuffle.

The announcement is expected to include a reorganisation of government department responsibilities, as well as a replacement for Nadhim Zahawi as the Conservative party chair.  

Zahawi was sacked by Sunak over "a serious breach of the ministerial code" following an investigation into his tax affairs.  

UK government sends support to rescue survivors from Syria and Turkey earthquake 

earthquake damage in Turkey
A major earthquake has killed thousands in Turkey and Syria (Alamy)

The UK development minister has confirmed the government has sent specialists to aid the recovery of survivors in an earthquake which has killed at least 3,500 people and injured thousands more in Turkey and Syria.

The huge earthquake began in the early hours of Monday morning, and the World Health Organization is warning that the death toll could multiply by eight in the coming days. 

On Monday, Rishi Sunak tweeted that the UK would “stand ready” to help those caught up in the disaster. 

Development Minister Andrew Mitchell appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday morning to confirm that help has now been sent.

“So as soon as the terrible disaster struck, we spoke to the Turkish authorities to find out what we could do to help,” he said.

“Coordination of all the different parties who have the ability to help is absolutely essential.”

He added that the government had “learned the lesson” from the Haiti earthquake in 2010, when an uncoordinated international response left many victims without the support they needed. 

Mitchell said the government has despatched 76 UK search and rescue specialists and four search dogs. 

Addressing the difficulties of disaster relief in war-torn Syria, he argued the need for the UN to negotiate additional access into Syria from Turkey, to allow support to come through.

Former Conservative leader criticises Truss and Johnson for their denials of failure

Liz Truss giving her resignation speech
Liz Truss only lasted 44 days in office as prime minister in 2022 (Alamy)

Former Conservatives leader William Hague has criticised Liz Truss and Boris Johnson for denying culpability for their failures as prime ministers. 

Writing for The Times, Hague said “It has become more common in recent years for political leaders to disclaim responsibility for their own actions.

“If you became prime minister, with a majority behind you and a decent term in front of you, but were overthrown amid chaos, there is indeed someone to blame. It’s you.”

In his resignation speech, Boris Johnson blamed “the herd” for ousting him: “When the herd moves, it moves.”

In a 4000-word essay for the Telegraph at the weekend, Liz Truss said: “Fundamentally I was not given a realistic chance to enact my policies by a very powerful economic establishment, coupled with a lack of political support”.

She also said she was “wrong” to assume that her “mandate would be respected” during her time in Downing Street. 

Conservative MPs have complained that Truss could be damaging their election prospects, and the i has revealed that pollsters agree, with surveys showing her comments remind voters of the political turmoil of 2022. 

However, despite Truss’s political comeback this week, she said in an interview with the Spectator on Monday that she would not want to be prime minister again.

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