Rishi Sunak appoints backers of leadership rivals in Cabinet

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LONDON: Britain’s new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, gave an indication of how he plans to govern the country and unite his party on Tuesday by drawing from all wings of the now divided Conservative party when appointing his Cabinet, even giving some roles to backers of his previous rivals. Three of the four Great Offices of State, including that of PM, are now held by non-whites, two of whom are PIOs.
Many of the faces he appointed were well-known MPs who had previously held Cabinet posts — an indication that he wants to have people with experience at the helm to steady the ship during turbulent times in the UK, unlike his predecessors who appointed loyalists regardless of competence. There is speculation Sunak has done this to ensure that he does not inadvertently create a group of disgruntled rebel MPs denied cabinet posts who subsequently plot to oust him, as has happened in the past.

He reached out to the right of the party by reappointing Suella Braverman as home secretary, a post she had got under Liz Truss. Braverman, who has roots in Kenya, Mauritius and Goa, left No. 10 with a huge grin on her face on Tuesday evening. She quit, or was sacked, two days before Truss was ousted claiming she had breached the ministerial code and recently said her dream was to have a plane of migrants taking off to Rwanda on the front page of the UK’s “Daily Telegraph” newspaper.
Jeremy Hunt, who was appointed by Truss after she sacked Kwasi Kwarteng, who unveiled the “Kami-Kwasi” budget of tax cuts, was reappointed Chancellor of the Exchequer. He is widely seen as a safe pair of hands and will be unveiling a widely-watched medium-term fiscal plan on October 31.
Ben Wallace, James Cleverly and Nadhim Zahawi — Boris Johnson supporters in the leadership contest last weekend — all got top jobs. Wallace remains defence secretary, Cleverly remains foreign secretary and Zahawi becomes party chairman.

Grant Shapps, former transport secretary under Johnson, who was home secretary for a few days under Truss, and a high-profile backer of Sunak in both leadership campaigns, has been made business secretary. Steve Barclay was appointed health secretary, and Michael Gove, another high-profile supporter of Sunak and veteran cabinet minister (who is also known for his disco moves), who was sacked by Johnson for telling him to resign was reappointed to the role of levelling up secretary.
But India-born Alok Sharma, who backed Johnson, not Sunak, in the recent contest, retained his job as COP26 president but lost his position in Cabinet. Co-leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas tweeted: “Utterly shameful for Rishi Sunak to remove seat at cabinet table for COP26 President Alok Sharma — just weeks before one of the most important global climate summits in a generation at #COP27 in Egypt. If the new PM cares about climate, he’s got a very strange way of showing it.”
Penny Mordaunt, who withdrew from the recent leadership race against Sunak at the exact time the nominations closed, which allowed Sunak to automatically become leader without a ballot, was reappointed Leader of the House of Commons.
Oliver Dowden, a close friend of Sunak’s, was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Gillian Keegan was promoted to education secretary, Mel Stride was appointed work and pensions secretary and Thérèse Coffey has become environment secretary, replacing Ranil Jayawardena MP, who is half-Indian and half Sri Lankan.
Dominic Raab, who played a prominent role in Sunak’s Ready4Rishi campaign, was re-appointed deputy prime minister, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, the same roles he had held in the Johnson government. At the time of going to press there was no sign of a role for Priti Patel.

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