is facing an immediate post-reshuffle Cabinet headache after and both staked a claim to use Chevening House.
The grace-and-favour estate in Kent is usually reserved for the use of the UK’s foreign secretary, a role now held by Ms Truss after Mr Raab’s demotion to Justice Secretary.
However, Mr Raab was also handed a new title of Deputy Prime Minister in Mr Johnson’s Cabinet shake-up.
He is said to believe that should give him the right to use the house for official visits but Ms Truss believes the property should be hers to use, according to The Times.
A final decision on the use of the property will ultimately be made by Mr Johnson.
In an awkward first meeting of Mr Johnson’s new-look Cabinet this morning, Ms Truss and Mr Raab had to sit next to each other.
The Prime Minister delivered a lengthy speech to his new top team which he described as a ‘half-time pep talk’.
He said it was now time to ‘spit out the orange peel, we adjust our gum shields and our scrum caps and we get back out onto the pitch’ to ‘fulfil our fundamental project of uniting and levelling up across the whole country’.
Boris Johnson is facing an immediate post-reshuffle Cabinet headache after Dominic Raab and Liz Truss both staked a claim to use Chevening House
The grace-and-favour estate in Kent is usually reserved for the use of the UK’s foreign secretary, a role now held by Ms Truss after Mr Raab’s demotion to Justice Secretary
Chevening House, which dates back to the 17th Century, has traditionally been allocated to the foreign secretary, often being used to host visiting counterparts.
However, it was used by Nick Clegg, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, when he was deputy prime minister in the Coalition Government.
Mr Clegg had to share the venue with William Hague, the then foreign secretary.
The Prime Minister could opt to grant permission to just one of his Cabinet ministers or he could ask them to share the property.
Mr Johnson has personal experience of having to share Chevening from his time as foreign secretary in Theresa May’s government.
Mr Johnson shared the building with then Brexit secretary David Davis and then international trade secretary Liam Fox.
The palatial Chevening House is set in 3,000 acres and boasts 115 rooms as well as a tennis court, lake and a maze
The palatial Chevening House is set in 3,000 acres and boasts 115 rooms as well as a tennis court, lake and a maze.
Downing Street said no decision would be made over which minister will get access to Chevening until the reshuffle is over.
Mr Johnson finished the shake-up of his Cabinet on Wednesday but an overhaul of the junior minister ranks remains ongoing.
Asked about the alleged stand-off between Mr Raab and Ms Truss, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said: ‘You will appreciate that the reshuffle is still ongoing.
‘There is a long process in place for nominating the occupants of Chevening House and we will update in due course.’
Pressed on whether both ministers had put in bids to use the residence, the official added: ‘I’m not going to get into discussions. We will conclude the reshuffle and then we will get into the longstanding processes, like residences.’
Today’s meeting of the Cabinet saw Mr Raab take up his new role as Deputy Prime Minister.
Liz Truss, the newly appointed Foreign Secretary, this morning sat next to the man she replaced at the reshuffle, Dominic Raab, who was demoted to the role of Justice Secretary, as they attended the first meeting of the new Cabinet
Michael Gove was moved from his role as Minister for the Cabinet Office to become the new Housing Secretary. He will also be in charge of overseeing the PM’s ‘levelling up’ agenda
Chevening: A brief history
Chevening House is a Grade II listed property set in a sprawling estate of gardens, parkland and farms.
The estate, which can be traced back as far as the 13th century, comprises 3,000 acres stretching between Sevenoaks and Biggin Hill in Kent.
The house itself was built between 1615 and 1630 by the 13th Lord Dacre before being bought in 1717 by General James Stanhope, a confidant King George I who went on to become his chief minister.
In 1720, the now Earl Stanhope added new projections to the east and west sides of the house and also built two pavilions which were connected to the main building.
However, the 4th Earl (1781-1855) inherited a ‘dilapidated and decayed house’ which was in dire need to renovation. He spent thousands of pounds carrying out essential repairs and also laid out Italian gardens at the front of the home, whilst his son, Lord Mahon, designed its maze.
The 4th Earl also re-opened the rights of way through the estate and opened its gardens to the public.
Chevening House is a Grade II listed property set in a sprawling estate of gardens, parkland and farms
The house was modernised further by the 5th Earl, who put in gas and sanitation, as well as heating apparatus.
The 7th Earl served in the First World War and then served in roles at the Admiralty, War Office and Foreign Office.
In 1936, he became a member of the Cabinet, as First Commissioner of Works, which saw him oversee the organisation of coronation ceremonies.
He then returned to the Admiralty as First Sea Lord in 1938. In the role, he selected senior officers who held key naval commands both at home and abroad in the Second World War.
On the outbreak of the conflict, Stanhope was appointed Lord President of the Council by the then Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.
However, when Chamberlain’s government fell in the Spring of 1940, he withdrew from public life. His wife died that autumn from cancer.
Realising the advantage that Buckinghamshire mansion Chequers had given to the PM since it became his official country home in 1921, Stanhope decided that Chevening could offer similar advantages to a Cabinet Minister.
The 7th Earl Stanhope (pictured in 1938) arranged for Chevening to be bequeathed to the nation after his death
After his death in 1967, the house was transferred to a trust and was preserved for the nation.
Under the terms of the 1959 Chevening Act, the Prime Minister nominates a person to occupy the house privately.
That person can be himself, a Cabinet minister, a direct descendant of King George VI or the spouse, widow or widower of a descendant.
The usual nominee is the Foreign Secretary.
Downing Street said he would continue to play an ‘important senior role’ in Government despite his demotion from foreign secretary.
The announcement that he was to be given the title Deputy Prime Minister was seen as little more than a consolation after losing one of the ‘great offices of state’.
Downing Street refused to be drawn on reports that Mr Raab had resisted the change during a tense conversation with the Prime Minister on Wednesday.
However, Mr Johnson’s official spokesman insisted it had been a ‘planned move’ and that the Esher and Walton MP’s new title reflected the Prime Minister’s continuing trust in him.
‘This formalises Dominic Raab’s position as the Prime Minister’s deputy – he will stand in for him at PMQs; it demonstrates his seniority within Government and the trust the Prime Minister places with him,’ the spokesman said.
‘You can expect him to be involved in cross-governmental work when that is necessitated. It is clear he will play an important senior role in Government.’
Mr Raab’s replacement by Ms Truss followed criticism of his handling of the Afghanistan crisis and his delay in returning from his holiday in Crete after Kabul fell to the Taliban.
Mr Johnson told his ministers at the start of this morning’s meeting that ‘this is a Government that is an historic government, that gets things done and delivers things that I think people previously thought were impossible’.
He said: ‘We are going to fulfil our fundamental project of uniting and levelling up across the whole country and that is what our mission is.’
Mr Johnson stressed the importance of delivering on the Government’s promises as he made a joke about being familiar with ‘delivery rooms’.
He said: ‘You are all here on your merits because you have worked incredibly hard and I want you to work even harder now.
‘I want us all to work even harder. I was just thinking about delivery and you know, I have seen a few delivery rooms, I’ve probably seen as many delivery rooms as anybody in this room with the possible exception of Jacob.
‘And I know that delivery, delivery normally involves a superhuman effort by at least one person in the room. We have all discussed the various mandates that you have, the things that we need to do to unite and level up.
‘But there are plenty of other people in that room who are absolutely indispensable for that successful outcome.
‘To mix my metaphors, this is if you like the half-time pep talks, folks, this is the moment when we spit out the orange peel, we adjust our gum shields and our scrum caps and we get back out onto the pitch in the knowledge that we are going to have to do it together and we are going to have to do it as a team because that is what the people of this country want to see.’
Mr Johnson’s Cabinet ministers banged their fists on the table once he had finished his remarks.
The PM’s reference to ‘half-time’ immediately prompted speculation that Mr Johnson may have been giving a hint about the timing of the next general election.
The last election was held in December 2019 and the next one is not due to take place until 2024 but some Tory MPs believe Mr Johnson could go to the nation early in 2023.
Downing Street said after the meeting that the Cabinet had ‘agreed that shared data would be vital’ to delivering on the Government’s promises.
Number 10 said shared data would enable ‘ministers and the public to clearly see what progress is being made on each challenge’ in comments which appeared to suggest the Government could bring forward some sort of online progress dashboard.
The PM continued the overhaul of the Government yesterday as he made a raft of changes to the ranks of junior ministers as a number of lengthy frontbench careers were ended.
Former Cabinet minister John Whittingdale – who had been serving as media minister – was the most high profile casualty, while Nick Gibb’s lengthy tenure in the Department for Education was also brought to an end.
Jesse Norman, Caroline Dinenage, Luke Hall, Justin Tomlinson, Graham Stuart, James Duddridge and Matt Warman also lost their ministerial jobs.
Penny Mordaunt was replaced as Paymaster General by former solicitor general Michael Ellis, but picked up a role at the Department for International Trade.
Alex Chalk has been appointed Solicitor General while Chloe Smith has been made a minister of state at the Department for Work and Pension and Robin Walker goes to the Department for Education.
A shake-up of Treasury ministers saw Lucy Frazer become Financial Secretary and Helen Whately become Exchequer Secretary.
Nadine Dorries, pictured second from the left, was promoted to the role of Culture Secretary in the reshuffle, replacing Oliver Dowden who was made chairman of the Conservative Party
The Prime Minister delivered a lengthy speech to his new top team at the start of this morning’s meeting which he described as a ‘half-time pep talk’
Sajid Javid, pictured leaving 10 Downing Street this morning, was reappointed by Mr Johnson to his role as Health Secretary
At the Department of Health and Social Care, Gillian Keegan is a minister of state while Maggie Throup is a junior minister.
Victoria Atkins moves from the Home Office to become minister of state at the Ministry of Justice but will remain responsible for the Afghan resettlement scheme and Operation Warm Welcome.
Lee Rowley has been made a junior minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and a Government whip, while Amanda Solloway also heads to the whips’ office.
Neil O’Brien – who was Mr Johnson’s ‘levelling up’ adviser – has been made a junior minister at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Among the other appointments, Mr Johnson’s former ministerial aide Trudy Harrison is now a junior minister in the Department for Transport.
The Cabinet appeared to be in good spirits as Mr Johnson stressed the importance of delivering on the Government’s promises as he made a joke about being familiar with ‘delivery rooms’
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