Rishi Sunak demotes Truss ally Trevelyan to junior foreign minister

British PM gives former transport secretary reduced role after she backed his predecessor in summer leadership contest

Anne-Marie Trevelyan outside 10 Downing Street. EPA
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Anne-Marie Trevelyan has been demoted from her role in the Cabinet and made a junior minister in Britain’s Foreign Office in a reshuffle by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

She previously served as transport secretary in Liz Truss’s administration and won praise for opening negotiations with rail unions in an attempt to end nationwide strikes.

Ms Trevelyan supported Ms Truss in the Conservative leadership race against Mr Sunak in the summer.

She was ousted from the prime minister’s top team in a reshuffle on Tuesday in which he handed top jobs to some of his loyal supporters.

It is not yet clear what remit Ms Trevelyan will have in the Foreign Office, which is led by Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. He previously served as Middle East minister, a role that has been vacant since February.

After Downing Street announced details of the reshuffle on Wednesday, Ms Trevelyan posted a message on Twitter saying she felt honoured to have been asked by the prime minister to serve in the Foreign Office.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to continue [to] champion our UK values and partnerships with friends and allies across the globe,” she said.

James Cleverly, the UK's foreign secretary, outside No 10 Downing Street. PA

In her previous role of international trade secretary she launched negotiations for a comprehensive free trade deal between the UK and the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC).

She visited Riyadh in June where she met Nayef Falah Al Hajraf, the GCC’s secretary general, and ministers from member countries to discuss a potential agreement.

Afterwards, she travelled to the UAE where she met Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chief executive of Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi’s strategic investment arm. She shared photos of their meeting on social media and said it was “great to talk” about global trade and “the huge investments opportunities across the UK”.

Talks with the GCC ― made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE ― are ongoing.

Chris Philp, another of Ms Truss's allies, was demoted from paymaster general to junior minister in the Home Office.

He had served as chief secretary to the Treasury and Cabinet Office minister in the Truss administration.

George Freeman was reappointed to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy by Mr Sunak.

Mr Freeman was a prominent backer of Penny Mordaunt in the recent race for the Tory leadership but later urged her to drop out and back Mr Sunak. She quit after failing to secure enough nominations from MPs by Monday afternoon, and Mr Sunak was declared the winner.

Mr Freeman said it was a “privilege and honour” to serve in government, and said he would be responsible for overseeing science, technology and innovation in the department.

Updated: October 28, 2022, 11:02 AM
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