Boris Johnson and his new Cabinet – what should Poles in the UK expect?

July 25, 2019

Boris Johnson became the United Kingdom’s new Prime Minister on the 24th July 2019. His Cabinet consists of his most loyal supporters as well as key figures from the Brexit camp. The new Prime Minister called for tougher negotiations with the European Union. Boris Johnson threw out 18 ministers which, according to the media, is an unprecedented same-party change of a Cabinet.

Boris Johnson stated that the EU should renegotiate and allow a fairer Brexit to happen, otherwise Britain will not pay the 39 million GBP and the UK will leave the European Union with no deal.

What will the new Cabinet mean for the Poles?

Priti Patel, new Home Secretary, who will be responsible for the future of Poles in the UK, has  previouslycalled for prioritising work opportunities for Brits. Many Poles, despite previous Government promises of protecting the rights of EU workers, are still concerned about their future post-Brexit, especially in an event of no-deal.

Many of the new Ministers, in their previous roles, held meetings with the Polish community. Theresa Villiers, new Environment Secretary, attended a number of Polish events in Chipping Barnet. Jacob Rees-Mogg, new Leader of the House of Commons, told British Poles in an interview that he called for a British military base to support Poland militarily. Gavin Williamson, formerly Defence Secretary and currently Education Secretary, took part in a number of meetings with Polish officials and called for support for Poland. It is to be seen whether Mr Gavinson will understand the importance of involving the Polish contribution to the British WW2 efforts in the British educational cirriculum.

The main question for the future is Brexit – to what extent will it affect the Poles living in the UK? Many Poles are concerned that Brexit may increase hate crime towards immigrants and that Poles will be no longer as welcome in the UK as they were before.

Boris Johnson, formerly as a Mayor of London, had a very popular nad rather positive image amongst the Polish community. He attended events to honour the Polish pilots at the Polish War Memorial in Hillingdon (which is his constituency):

As a Mayor of London, he visited Poland in 2014 to commemorate the Warsaw Uprising. At that time, he met three last British Royal Air Force pilots, who were dropping air support during the Warsaw Uprising. It is not a well known fact, that Winston Churchill wanted to support the Uprising, but Stalin refused for the British pilots to use the Soviet landing sites hence their missions to Poland were not easy.

He was painted by the famous Polish painter Barbara Kaczmarowska-Hamilton. The painting hung in the Ognisko Club in South Kensington, where it was a matter of controversy, as some members of the Club wanted to hide it because of Mr Johnson’s support for Brexit.

The upcoming time before the 31st October, which is the most probable date of Brexit, will be very interesting but potentially worrying to follow for the Polish community in the UK. Will Boris Johnson deliver Brexit? Will Poles be safe to study in the UK or whether their tituion fees will be dramatically increased? Will Poles be able to work and live in the UK after Brexit or should they worry about their future?

Time will tell.

The full list of Boris Johnson’s new Cabinet:

Sajid Javid – Chancellor

Priti Patel – Home Secretary

Dominic Raab – Foreign Secretary

Stephen Barclay – Brexit Secretary

Michael Gove – Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

Ben Wallace – Defence Secretary

Liz Truss – International Trade Secretary

Matt Hancock – Health & Social Care Secretary

Theresa Villiers – Environment Secretary

Gavin Williamson – Education Secretary

Nicky Morgan – Culture Secretary

Andrea Leadsom – Business Secretary

Robert Jenrick – Housing & Communities Secretary

Amber Rudd – Work & Pensions, Women & Equalities

Robert Buckland – Justice Secretary

Alok Sharma – International Development Secretary

Grant Shapps – Transport Secretary

Alun Cairns – Welsh Secretary

Alister Jack – Scottish Secretary

Julian Smith – Northern Ireland Secretary

Baroness Evans – Leader of the Lords

James Cleverly – Party Chairman

Jacob Rees-Mogg – Leader of the Commons

Rishi Sunak – Chief Secretary to Treasury

Mark Spencer – Chief Whip

Geoffrey Cox – Attorney General

Esther McVey – Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government

Brandon Lewis – Home Office Minister

Jo Johnson – Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Education

Oliver Dowden – Paymaster General

Dawid Malinowski
Photos: Barbara Kaczmarowska-Hamilton, GetWest London, Getty Images

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