Boris Johnson has long yearned to be the modern-day Winston Churchill, famed for his oratory and leadership just as his hero was during and after the second world war. But leadership takes both courage and conviction, as well as the ability to do what is necessary, regardless of personal cost. We haven’t seen anything like that during Johnson’s premiership to date – this reshuffle has been perhaps his last chance to show that he can be a leader of sorts (Boris Johnson lays groundwork for general election with ruthless reshuffle, 15 September).

Sacking Gavin Williamson required no courage. Failing to sack Priti Patel showed an inability to do what was necessary, given her failure to deal with the UK border issues and her serial breaking of the ministerial code. The shambolic evacuation of Afghanistan, managed by the then foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, merited only a demotion, one mitigated by the gift of those two grandiose titles – lord chancellor and deputy prime minister. Hardly an indicator of prime ministerial conviction.

As for Johnson’s oratory? He must be the first aspiring great orator to inform his audience that two years into his job he “wants to put in place a strong and united team”. This begs the question why he didn’t do that two years ago. Modern-day Churchill? More like modern day vacillator.
John Robinson
Lichfield, Staffordshire

The reshuffle is nothing more than an excellent sign that Boris Johnson is heading for an early election. He has got rid of the most obvious complete failures in his government of no-hopers. The Tory calculation is that Brexit will continue to damage the economy and it will worsen and become more obvious over time. The Tories will not want to face an election in 2024 with all Johnson’s failed pledges coming home to roost.
John Cookson

The prime minister seems to have confused competence with personal loyalty to him. If his reshuffle was really ruthless and the aim was to root out ministers who aren’t up to the job, many more heads would have rolled. As it is, we have a cabinet who you wouldn’t trust to put the bins out and get it right.
Dave Pollard

It is claimed that the new ministerial appointments “reward those with positive publicity”, but they also reward the outgoing negative performers. Failed ministers will each receive £17,000 “severance pay” on returning to the backbenches, having previously voted for a £20-a-week cut to universal credit. No doubt the irony of this will be lost on them.
Mick Beeby

I don’t know why there’s all this excitement about such a meagre number of sackings of long-derided, unpopular ministers. When I was younger, Harold Macmillan in 1962 had his “night of the long knives” – when a third of the cabinet went in quick response to falling ratings.

Then, in 1967, Harold Wilson also wielded the axe in response to party unpopularity. I was working in Fleet Street at the time, and when I went out for lunch there seemed to be an air of amusement on the street. This became plain on seeing the newspaper billboards, which read: “Wilson gets out his chopper”.
David Redshaw
Gravesend, Kent

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