BORIS Johnson axed a slew of white men from the lower ministerial ranks on day two of his sweeping reshuffle — to promote rising-star women.
Living up to a promise to do more for government gender balance, the PM fuelled speculation of an early election by adding fresh female talent to his team.
Lucy Frazer, and Helen Whately were promoted to powerful roles at the Treasury.
And anti-woke warrior Kemi Badenoch was handed the key position as Michael Gove’s deputy in charge of levelling up.
Brexiteer Penny Mordaunt is the new No2 at the Trade Department and Gillian Keegan gets a top job at Health.
Old-guard ministers John Whittingdale, Nick Gibb and James Duddridge were sacked along with Luke Hall, Justin Tomlinson and Matt Warman.
But in a surprise move, Mr Johnson also axed Jesse Norman, an old school friend and husband of the vaccine tsar Kate Bingham.
Tory MPs have seen Mr Johnson’s shakeup as getting the government “match fit” for a possible early poll in as soon as 2023.
Cabinet ministers think he could secure at least SEVEN more years in power after strong local election results in May and signs the economic recovery is speedier than first thought.
One senior Minister said the next election “will be sooner rather than later” after No10 changed the law to allow them to call a General Election whenever they want.
Last night senior Tories played down the idea of an early traipse to the ballot boxes, but admitted “all options will are kept open.”