The prime minister is expected to continue his reshuffle on Thursday, concentrating on the lower ministerial ranks, with vaccines minister and schools minister among the roles yet to be filled.

Boris Johnson overhauled some of the cabinet’s top positions on Wednesday, sacking education secretary Gavin Williamson and replacing him with vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi.

He also demoted foreign secretary Dominic Raab, replacing him with international trade secretary Liz Truss.

Robert Buckland and Robert Jenrick departed their roles as justice secretary and housing, communities and local government secretary, respectively.

Schools minister Nick Gibb was also shown the door.

Priti Patel kept her role as home secretary, despite speculation that she would be sacked, while Rishi Sunak will continue as chancellor.

In a tweet following the reshuffle, the prime minister said: “The cabinet I have appointed today will work tirelessly to unite and level up the whole country.”

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Mr Raab paid the price for the criticism he received after remaining on holiday in Crete while Afghanistan’s capital Kabul fell to the Taliban. He will, however, now be deputy prime minister.

Mr Williamson was targeted after his mis-handling of schools during the coronavirus pandemic, including closures and a fiasco over the awarding of A-level and GCSE grades.

Last week, he was widely mocked after admitting to confusing England footballer Marcus Rashford with rugby star Maro Itoje.

Mr Zahawi, on the other hand, was rewarded for his efforts in the successful COVID-19 vaccine rollout – almost 90% of those over 16 have had a first dose of the vaccine, while just over 81% are fully vaccinated.

Following his appointment as education secretary, Mr Zahawi said: “Children and young people have had a tough time during this pandemic and I’ll be listening to them and their families as we accelerate our work to build back better and fairer.

“From my own experience, I know what a beacon of opportunity this country can be and I want all children, young people and adults to have access to a brilliant education, the right qualifications and opportunities to secure good jobs.”

Oliver Dowden was made co-chairman of the Conservative Party, replacing Amanda Milling.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who was international development secretary before her department was merged with the Foreign Office last year, returned to the fold as trade secretary.

Nadine Dorries took Mr Dowden’s culture secretary job.

Steve Barclay succeeded Michael Gove as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, while Mr Gove replaced Mr Jenrick at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, also taking on cross-government responsibility for Mr Johnson’s “levelling up” agenda.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis all kept their jobs.