Dozens of ministerial posts may remain vacant for another 10 days despite the mourning period ending after the Queen’s funeral on Monday, No 10 has admitted.
The problem has emerged because King Charles has announced a further week-long Royal Mourning period – and ministerial appointments are made, officially, by the monarch.
The prime minister’s office is now scrambling to work out if it is able to fill the posts – put at 55 by one count, which No 10 disputes – next week or be forced to wait until the following week.
Asked when the posts will be filled, a No 10 spokesperson said: “We will update on the next steps as soon as we can”.
Officially, Liz Truss’s reshuffle is “paused”, although Zac Goldsmith revealed he has been sacked from his environment brief, while remaining a Foreign Office minister.
Meanwhile, the new prime minister is preparing for a blizzard of behind-the-scenes diplomacy ahead of the funeral, meeting six world leaders over the weekend.
As expected, she will hold talks with Joe Biden, as well as the leaders of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Poland – but not France or Germany.