Liz Truss announces first Cabinet as UK's new prime minister

It was hoped a 'unity Cabinet' might have ended bitter infighting witnessed during Boris Johnson years

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British Prime Minister Liz Truss has named her new Cabinet in a reshuffle that instantly put pressure on calls for Conservative unity.

Several of leadership rival Rishi Sunak's supporters were sacked, including Dominic Raab, Grant Shapps, George Eustice and Steve Barclay.

The prime minister’s closest supporters got the greatest rewards, with Kwasi Kwarteng, James Cleverly and Suella Braverman becoming chancellor, foreign secretary and home secretary, respectively.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey — regarded as Ms Truss’s closest confidante at Westminster — is the new health secretary and deputy prime minister.

Who is in Liz Truss' Cabinet?

Brandon Lewis has been appointed Lord Chancellor and justice secretary.

Ben Wallace has been re-appointed as defence secretary, Downing Street said.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been appointed secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy.

Simon Clarke becomes secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities.

Kemi Badenoch has been appointed as international trade secretary and president of the Board of Trade.

Chloe Smith has been appointed work and pensions secretary.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan becomes transport secretary.

Kit Malthouse becomes education secretary.

Michael Ellis QC has been appointed attorney general and will attend Cabinet.

Tom Tugendhat will attend Cabinet as security minister in the Home Office.

Alok Sharma has also been re-appointed as Cop26 president.

Nadhim Zahawi has been appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, minister for intergovernmental relations and minister for equalities.

Michelle Donelan becomes secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport.

Chris Heaton-Harris has been appointed as Northern Ireland secretary.

Alister Jack has been re-appointed as Scottish secretary.

Robert Buckland has been re-appointed as Welsh secretary.

Penny Mordaunt has been appointed leader of the House of Commons.

Ranil Jayawardena becomes secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs.

Ms Truss also appointed Wendy Morton as chief whip, Downing Street said.

Lord True has been appointed leader of the House of Lords.

Chris Philp will attend Cabinet as chief secretary to the Treasury.

Political observers suggested it was not the potential “unity Cabinet” that might have ended the bitter infighting witnessed during the Boris Johnson years.

Johnny Mercer, the sacked veterans minister, appeared to sum up the mood in suggesting that he had been ousted to make way for a Truss favourite.

Liz Truss's political career — in pictures

Two senior Johnson ministers, Nadine Dorries and Priti Patel, pre-empted Ms Truss’s announcements by saying they would step away from the front benches.

Ms Patel said she would resign as home secretary once a successor was in place, while Ms Dorries, the culture secretary, said she was leaving the Cabinet and was widely tipped to move to the House of Lords.

Those who had backed Mr Sunak urged Ms Truss to appoint an “inclusive” Cabinet and not simply surround herself with loyalists in the way that Mr Johnson was accused of doing.

Who is in new UK Prime Minister Liz Truss's first Cabinet — video

Mr Raab, who was justice secretary as well as second-in-command to Mr Johnson, had not expected to continue his run in government, having described Ms Truss’s tax plans as an “electoral suicide note”.

The MP for Esher and Walton announced he would be supporting the government from the backbenches.

“Thanks to the brilliant MoJ [Ministry of Justice] team for all their hard work over the last year,” Mr Raab tweeted.

“Good luck to the new PM and her team.

“I look forward to supporting the government from the backbenches.”

Mr Shapps also tweeted his own exit as transport secretary but did not make the same remarks of support for the new Tory leader.

“It has been a privilege to serve as Transport Secretary; a job I loved,” he said.

“Now I look forward to being a strong, independent voice on the backbenches, developing policies that will further the Conservative cause and the interests of my constituents in Welwyn Hatfield.”

Mr Barclay, the MP for North East Cambridgeshire who had been health secretary for Mr Johnson’s final months in office, tweeted: “Thanks to all colleagues, both political and civil service, for their fantastic support. Wishing @trussliz and her ministerial team every success for the future.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Ms Truss accepted Queen Elizabeth II’s invitation to form a government after Mr Johnson formally resigned at the monarch’s Balmoral estate in Scotland, completing the transfer of power after a two-month leadership contest.

Ms Truss is taking charge during an energy and inflation crisis she is expected to tackle within days with a sweeping plan to freeze fuel bills.

Plans briefed to journalists suggest Ms Truss could freeze household energy bills around their current level of £1,971 ($2,283) per year until at least January, and possibly until the next election expected in 2024.

Halting the looming 80 per cent rise in bills could cost as much as £100 billion ($116bn), and would mark a swift change of tack from Ms Truss after she spent the Tory leadership contest arguing for tax cuts instead of government handouts.

Simon Clarke, a Treasury minister and supporter of Ms Truss, said the new prime minister would make a “decisive intervention” to help people through the crisis unfolding in the shadow of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But there were doubts about how such a freeze would be paid for, with the opposition Labour Party alarmed by suggestions that the money would be recouped through higher bills over a period of 10 to 20 years.

Labour MPs called for a windfall tax on energy companies to fund the freeze, while Paul Massara, the former boss of energy company npower, told LBC radio: “This isn’t a freebie.”

Boris Johnson delivers farewell speech at 10 Downing Street — in pictures

Mr Johnson, forced out by Tory MPs who lost patience after a series of scandals, tendered his resignation at Balmoral after his farewell speech in Downing Street early on Tuesday.

In a speech full of typical rhetorical flourishes, he urged the Conservatives to unite but expressed resentment over his midterm departure, complaining that MPs had “changed the rules halfway through”.

Amid speculation that he will one day attempt a comeback, he left people guessing with an enigmatic reference to the Roman statesman Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, said to have come out of retirement for a second stint in power.

Mr Johnson flew to Scotland to offer his resignation after the queen, 96, who has suffered mobility problems and cancelled a number of public appearances in recent months, decided not to return to London for the handover.

Boris Johnson delivers final speech as UK PM — video

Ms Truss travelled separately to Balmoral to be invited to form a government, making her the 15th prime minister of the queen’s 70-year reign in a line stretching back to Winston Churchill.

She is the third woman to become prime minister after fellow Conservative leaders Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May.

Ms Truss was congratulated by world leaders but was urged by some to show cooperation towards the European Union after often stormy UK-EU relations under Mr Johnson's tenure.

“The British people are our friends, the British nation is our ally,” said French President Emmanuel Macron, who was visibly irked by Ms Truss's statement last month that the jury was still out on whether he was a friend or foe.

Updated: September 07, 2022, 5:34 AM
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