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Oliver Dowden, the cabinet office minister and a longstanding ally of Rishi Sunak, has been appointed deputy prime minister, replacing Dominic Raab.

Dowden, a political fixer and former Conservative party chair, first made his reputation as David Cameron’s deputy chief of staff in Downing Street, before later becoming an MP.

It was widely expected in Tory circles that Sunak would not designate a deputy prime minister. The role is often not filled, making Dowden’s appointment something of a surprise.

Meanwhile Alex Chalk, a barrister, moves from his middle-ranking role at the Ministry of Defence to take on Raab’s role as justice secretary.

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