Boris Johnson's declaration about Mustique holiday 'correct'

UK PM sacks N. Ireland minister in cabinet reshuffle

Mr Johnson faced criticism over his holiday for not returning sooner, after the U.S. killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani raised tensions in the Middle East.

Labour has called on Boris Johnson to clarify who paid for his Caribbean holiday over the New Year.

He was immediately replaced by his 39-year-old deputy, Rishi Sunak, a former banker and Brexit supporter who is seen as close to Downing Street.

Javid, a former City of London banker born into a working class Muslim family, was considered safe in his job despite reports of tensions between him and Johnson's senior aide, Dominic Cummings.

But the finance minister's resignation - which some commentators said might have been sought by Johnson's team - because of a dispute over Javid's advisers added to the picture that the prime minister will not tolerate dissent in his government.

"The chancellor said no self-respecting minister would accept those terms".

Johnson began his Cabinet shuffle by firing Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith - a surprise move.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar led tributes to Smith's efforts, saying he was "one of Britain's finest politicians of our time".

Planning has got off to a rocky start, with Johnson last week firing Claire O'Neill, a former British government minister appointed a year ago to head up the event.

But The Times newspaper said Johnson felt "blindsided" by the deal because it includes an investigation into alleged crimes by British soldiers during decades of sectarian violence known as The Troubles.

Meanwhile Dominic Raab has held on to his post as Foreign Secretary.

"It will be based in Number 10 and Number 11 (Downing Street) and will jointly advise the prime minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer as they work to level up the economy across the United Kingdom", the spokesman said, adding that Sunak had worked closely with his predecessor on the budget due in March.

Arlene Foster, who as DUP leader was restored as first minister of Northern Ireland under the deal, also hailed his "dedication to the role".

As well as shuffling his Cabinet, Johnson needs to appoint a new leader for the United Nations climate change conference that Britain is due to host later this year. He was joined by others including business minister Andrea Leadsom and environment minister Theresa Villiers.

One of the biggest strains between the two countries came to the forefront last month after Britain granted Huawei a limited role in Britain's 5G mobile network, frustrating a global attempt by the United States to exclude the company from the West's next-generation communications.

Johnson is however expected to announce the new president of the COP 26 United Nations climate summit, which is being held in Glasgow in November. She subsequently warned that planning for the summit was "miles off track".

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