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New PM installs close allies in top cabinet positions


Kwasi Kwarteng was named Chancellor of the Exchequer on Tuesday night as Liz Truss installed her close allies in senior government posts and weeded out supporters of her leadership rival Rishi Sunak.

Britain’s new prime minister has rewarded his supporters with high-profile cabinet roles and brushed off harsh criticism in a sweeping reshuffle, much of which was leaked before he arrived in Downing Street.

Kwarteng, who served as business secretary in Boris Johnson’s government, shares Truss’s free-market economic outlook and reformist zeal. He was chosen to oversee the response to the energy and cost of living crises.

Thérèse Coffey, one of Truss’s closest friends and allies in politics, was appointed Health Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister. She served as Work and Pensions Secretary for most of Johnson’s time in government and chaired the new prime minister’s leadership campaign.

James Cleverly, a former Foreign Secretary and briefly Education Secretary, was promoted to Foreign Secretary. Suella Braverman, who opposed Truss for the conservative leadership, was promoted to secretary inside her former job as attorney general.

Truss has yet to offer senior Sunak supporters a major cabinet post, with allies suggesting she will only go to those in junior ministerial ranks who have not backed her campaign.

Wendy Morton, who helped rally support from MPs during Truss’s leadership campaign, has been named chief party management whip. Jacob Rees-Mogg has been promoted from minister for Brexit opportunities to business secretary, responsible for energy policy.

Brandon Lewis, another key Truss backer, becomes Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, while Simon Clarke has been given the role of Cabinet Leveling Secretary. Chloe Smith, the Minister for Disability, takes charge of the work and pensions file,

Kemi Badenoch, who opposed Truss for the leadership, was appointed to the cabinet for the first time as trade secretary. Penny Mordaunt, who also stood for the competition, returned to the cabinet as leader of the House of Commons. Nadhim Zahawi, who briefly served as Chancellor, was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for Equality.

Jake Berry was given the role of chairman of the Conservative party, while Ben Wallace, secretary of defense, remained in office as one of the few survivors of the Johnson cabinet. Alok Sharma was also retained as President of COP26. Lord Nicholas True has been appointed Leader of the House of Lords.

Truss spent his early hours in Downing Street sacking many prominent Sunak supporters, including former Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Environment Secretary George Eustice. Johnny Mercer, Minister for Veterans Affairs, also announced he would be leaving government and hinted that he might quit politics.

Truss also appointed his team of senior Downing Street political advisers, with veteran Conservative Party strategist Mark Fullbrook, who led his leadership campaign, as chief of staff.

The new prime minister has brought trusted allies into government to fill political advisory roles. Ruth Porter, chief executive of consultancy FGS Global, will be deputy chief of staff for Number 10 while Iain Carter, a former Conservative Party research director, will be in charge of strategy.

Truss will upend Number 10’s communication operation by splitting the lead role. Adam Jones, his media adviser to the Foreign Office and leadership campaign, will serve as political director of communications, while Simon McGee, a senior civil servant, will take on the role of director of government communications.

Jason Stein, who groomed Truss for the proceedings during the contest, will serve as a special adviser, along with Jamie Hope, who will leave the Foreign Office to become its policy director. Sophie Jarvis, a longtime confidant of Truss, will serve as his political secretary.

Matt Sinclair, a director at Deloitte and former head of lobby group TaxPayers’ Alliance, will serve as Truss’ chief economic adviser. John Bew, who served as Johnson’s senior foreign affairs aide, will stay on – one of the few aides to be retained from Johnson’s Downing Street.

Kwasi Kwarteng

Chancellor of the Exchequer

The MP for the seat of Spelthorne, Surrey, has recently converted to the importance of state intervention, first as energy minister and then as business secretary, overseeing a big part of the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy. In 2012, Kwarteng co-wrote with Truss a pamphlet called “Britannia Unchained,” espousing the primacy of free markets and the power of capitalism.

As business secretary, he drew up plans to reform oversight of the big four auditors, which had been held up by Downing Street. The son of Ghanaian parents, he earned a scholarship to Eton College and studied classics and history at Cambridge University. He was the first black Conservative MP to head a ministry.

Therese Coffey

Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of Health

Coffey, a longtime Truss ally, has been a Westminster figurehead since being elected in the coastal constituency of Suffolk in eastern England in 2010.

Coffey’s first high-level cabinet post was Secretary for Work and Pensions under the Johnson administration, having held junior government posts, such as Deputy Leader of the House of Commons and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State to the environment between 2015 and 2019.

james shrewdly

Foreign Secretary

Elected to Parliament in 2015, Cleverly has held junior ministerial posts, including Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, and Minister for Europe and North America. An avid Brexiter, Cleverly also served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department for Exiting the European Union.

He got his first job with the cabinet in the summer of 2022, as education secretary. He supported Truss throughout the leadership race, praising his “bold and optimistic plan for the economy”.

Suella Braverman

house secretary

Since entering parliament in 2015, Braverman has aligned herself with the eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party, chairing the European Research Group. Under Theresa May, she served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department for Exiting the European Union, but resigned following proposals to introduce a backstop at the Northern Irish border.

In 2020 she became the second woman to be appointed Attorney General of England and Wales. She was ousted in the second leg of the leadership contest.

Jacob Rees Mogg

business secretary

After playing a key role in May’s defenestration by the ERG group of Eurosceptic MPs, Rees-Mogg rose to cabinet status under Boris Johnson. His impeccably courteous, quasi-Victorian manner belies a set of steely right-wing beliefs on issues ranging from trans rights to the economy.

As business secretary, he will have to carry out market-friendly reforms and cut red tape. His nomination could cast doubt on the UK’s goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. He has previously argued that voters don’t want ‘windmills’ and that the humanity should focus on adapting to climate change instead of trying to stop it.

Kemi Badenoch

commercial secretary

The 42-year-old is a newcomer to Westminster, having been elected to her Essex seat from Saffron Walden in 2017. Badenoch is seen as a rising star in the party after serving in junior ministerial posts in the Equalities Office and in the Department of Education.

In July, Badenoch was one of more than 40 ministers to resign from government in protest at Johnson’s handling of misconduct allegations. Although she was eliminated in the fourth round of the leadership race, Badenoch’s advocacy of free markets and her tough stance on so-called culture war issues, such as gender politics, made her popular among the right of the conservative base.

Chloe Smith

secretary for work and pensions

Smith – who, like the new Prime Minister, represents a seat from Norfolk – is a new face in the cabinet having previously held a series of junior ministerial posts, including Minister for the Constitution, Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Economic Secretary of the Treasury.

A former management consultant, she first entered parliament in a by-election in 2009. Described by friends as “quiet” and “diligent”, Smith’s early career took a hit when she struggled to answer Jeremy Paxman’s aggressive fuel duty questions on Newsnight.