IF there was anyone still in doubt that the bumbling, gaffe-prone outer exterior of Boris Johnson hides an utterly ruthless political operator, that misapprehension was surely blown apart once and for all this week.

After his election as Conservative Party leader on Tuesday, the new prime minister didn’t reshuffle the Cabinet on Wednesday night, he appointed a whole new government. More than half of Theresa May’s top team either quit or were sacked.

Amidst the carnage, Richmond MP Rishi Sunak, Mr Johnson’s de-factor spokesman during the leadership contest, secured a huge promotion to chief secretary to the treasury.

The move from junior minister in the department of housing, communities and local government to second-in-command to the Chancellor of the Exchequer is a remarkable rise for an MP who was only elected a little over four years ago.

Mr Sunak has a good understanding of the pressures facing our rural communities in the north, and it is to be hoped he will use his position at the Cabinet table to press the case for the kind of crucial infrastructure investment that we and other regional publishers have called for as part of the Power up the North campaign.

As the dust settles on another extraordinary week in UK politics, it remains to be seen whether force of personality alone will be enough for Mr Johnson to overcome the issues that plagued his predecessor, such as the resolving the Northern Irish backstop, or pacifying opponents determined to frustrate his plans. Whichever way his leadership goes, after such a radical Cabinet reform, one thing is for sure – it’s not going to be dull.