Meet Britain’s New Government: A Look Into Boris Johnson’s Cabinet

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After emerging victorious from the Tory leadership contest on Tuesday to replace Theresa May, Boris Johnson was sworn in on Wednesday as the new prime minister. Johnson has since then announced a Cabinet reshuffle. But who are they and how has the make up of the Cabinet changed?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has seemingly taken a single-minded approach to his Cabinet reshuffle, in what some have described as the “most brutal overhaul” of a Cabinet in history.

Johnson has picked largely from loyalist and Brexiteer stock while a total of 14 cabinet ministers, mostly long-term May Cabinet officials and Remain supporters such as Phillip Hammond and Jeremy Hunt, have exited the government.

The new Cabinet has reportedly had to sign a pledge to deliver Brexit in 99 days, before 31 October. ​So who are they?

Chancellor of the Exchequer: Sajid Javid

Javid will be replacing Phillip Hammond, who announced his resignation before Mr Johnson assumed the premiership.

This appointment will make him the first Asian and Muslim chancellor for the UK.

The former home secretary under Theresa May, Javid ran for Tory leader against Boris Johnson, but fell short in the penultimate round before the leadership vote.

As a former investment banker for Deutsche Bank and a former CDO trader prior to the 2008-2009 financial crash, Javid will now take up the role of overseeing the UK’s finances.

Home Secretary: Priti Patel 

Priti Patel served as international development secretary under Theresa May, but came under fire following the unveiling of secret trips to Israel where she discussed government information with politicians from the party Yesh Atid.

She later resigned the position after being declared in breach of the Ministerial Code.

However, she maintains that Boris Johnson (then foreign secretary) was aware of and sanctioned the trips.

Patel is also known for her connections to the tobacco and alcohol industry as well as being part of a group of Tory MPs, including Dominic Raab and Liz Truss, who described British workers as “amongst the worst idlers in the world”.

Foreign Secretary: Dominic Raab

A fellow Brexiteer, Boris Johnson’s pick for foreign secretary previously served as Theresa May’s Brexit secretary until November 2018 following the unveiling of Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement (WA).

His hardline Brexit stance and disapproval of the WA led him to resign, claiming that he had been undermined throughout the process.

Raab has followed the Conservative Party’s line on foreign issues and will now be tasked with having to manoeuvre the Iran-tanker crisis as well as strained relations with the Trump administration following Sir Kim Darroch’s dismissal.

He joined the race to replace Theresa May in 2019 but quickly failed to make any significant impact. He later declared his support for Boris Johnson, a decision which turned out to be lucrative.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Michael Gove

Serving in Theresa May’s government as the minister for the environment, Gove also made a name for himself as an arch-Brexiteer.

He attempted to run for Tory leader in 2019 but lost in the last round to Remainer and former-foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Despite his strong support for leave, Gove remained in the May Cabinet amid a myriad of resignations after the announcement of the WA.

He made a scathing attack on Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in Parliament, referencing Corbyn’s alleged refusal to stand with Britain, because the opposition leader did not vote to launch airstrikes in Libya and has questioned the government’s official narrative on the Skripal case.

He ended the speech by declaring that he will “never” allow Corbyn to be PM of the UK.

His role as chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster will reportedly be to oversee preparations for a “no-deal” Brexit.

Secetary for Exiting the European Union: Stephen Barclay

​Stephen Barclay replaced Dominic Raab as the secretary for exiting the European Union or “Brexit minister” in the May government in November 2018 and has kept his position.

Appointed as a relatively unknown candidate, the 46-year old voted to leave the European Union and has historically blamed David Cameron for not delivering “the game changer we need to protect against further EU integration”.

His role under Theresa May became increasingly domestically-oriented, focusing on preparing the UK for its departure from the EU.

His position remains questionable as Boris Johnson has pledged to renegotiate a Brexit deal and take Britain out of the EU by 31 October 2019, the deadline set by the EU to leave.

Trade Secretary: Liz Truss

Truss is the former chief secretary to the treasury and the first female lord chancellor in history.

She made an emotive speech regarding the imbalance of trade between the UK and the EU in 2016, declaring the levels of imported cheese to be a “disgrace”.

Her ascendency to the position comes as Britain’s role in global trade becomes increasingly less certain.

Boris Johnson has declared his intention to settle an EU-UK trade agreement before leaving the EU in December, a situation which the EU has ruled out as a possibility.

Trade links with China are also becoming increasingly vulnerable as the US has declared that if the UK were to allow telecoms giant Huawei access to Britain’s 5G network, a US-UK trade agreement would be at risk.

Following the appointment to her new role, she said that she is looking forward to “getting as many trade deals as we can” and stressed the importance of a cabinet committed to leaving the EU by 31 October, according to Sky News.

 

Health Secretary: Matt Hancock

Retaining his position from the May government, Matt Hancock succeeded Jeremy Hunt as health secretary on 10 July 2018.

Hancock outlined his three major NHS priorities as understaffing, the prevention of ill-health, and adopting new technology at a greater rate.

He is known by NHS chiefs for his tendency to offer technological solutions to problems.

According to The Guardian, Hancock will often respond to an issue being explained to him with: “There’s an app that should help fix that”.

The NHS England chief executive publicly mocked Hancock at an event last week, saying: “Alexa … where is Matt Hancock’s social care green paper? There’s no answer”.

Defence Secretary: Ben Wallace

​An 8-year ex-military veteran, Wallace served in Northern Ireland, Cypris, Central America, and Germany. He later entered business as the overseas director of the UK’s former Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA), QinetiQ.

Wallace has served as an MP in both the Scottish and Westminster parliaments.

As one of the more unknown candidates, Wallace will be tasked with the oversight of overseas military alliances, including British membership in NATO, Britain’s nuclear programme, and the UN Security Council.

Environment Secretary: Theresa Villiers 

​Villiers was secretary of state for Northern Ireland under the Cameron government between 2012 until 2016. She is a leave veteran and her position will see her tasked with arranging farm subsidies post-Brexit. She is also an advocate for fracking.

She has historically opposed Boris Johnson’s advocacy of building a new London airport in the Thames Estuary.

She has also made a point of protesting against alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour Party and is a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel.

Work and Pensions Secretary: Amber Rudd 

​Keeping her position in the Cabinet, Amber Rudd was the former home secretary under Theresa May but resigned in April 2018 following the Windrush Scandal, where it was revealed that the government had detained and even wrongly deported scores of British citizens who had been born as British subjects prior to 1975.

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary: Nicky Morgan

One of Johnson’s Remainer picks, Morgan once accused former UKIP leader Nigel Farage of “emboldening racists and bigots”.

Morgan had a place in David Cameron’s Cabinet in 2013 as the Minister for Women and Equalities.

She had previously opposed the appointment of Boris Johnson as PM.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary: Andrea Leadsom

The former leader of the House of Commons, she swiftly quit the cabinet following the announcement by Theresa May that she intended to resign.

Leadsom has backed leaving the European Union since 2016 referendum.

Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary: Robert Jenrick 

A young and unknown candidate, aged 37, he was the youngest candidate of Theresa May’s government, serving as exchequer secretary to the treasury since January of last year.

 

Education Secretary: Gavin Williamson 

Williamson was previously fired from his post as defence secretary by Theresa May for the alleged leaking of confidential discussions regarding the involvement of Chinese telecoms manufacturer, Huawei in the development of Britain’s future 5G network.

Justice Secretary: Robert Buckland 

Buckland was the winner of the Politician of the Year Award issued by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists for campaigning on issues regarding communication, speech, and language.

He was criticised in 2017 for voting against a Labour-proposed bill to make homes fit for human habitation while receiving money from property renting.

 

Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Rishi Sunak 

A new face in the government, Sunak is Westminster and United States educated with a successful career in investment.

He is also a Brexiteer, which makes him an ideal candidate for a position in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet.

International Development Secretary: Alok Sharma

Another new Remainer appointment to the Brexit-led government, Sharma served as both housing secretary and employment secretary prior to the resignation of Theresa May.

Transport Secretary: Grant Shapps

Shapps was an early voice calling for the resignation of Theresa May following the disappointing 2017 General Election result which saw the Conservatives lose their majority.

The Financial Times revealed a “secret pay deal” between Shapps and the British blockchain company OpenBrix, which would have seen Shapps receive £700,000 from the property portal.

The scandal led to his resignation from his own all-party parliamentary group.

He has also historically been less than an advocate of Boris Johnson’s prime ministerial pursuits.

Northern Ireland Secretary: Julian Smith 

Theresa May’s chief whip of the House of Commons from November 2017 until July 2019.

Smith has seen what is arguably a promotion to Northern Ireland secretary amid fears of a potential hard-border in Ireland following a no-deal Brexit, as well as being the seat of the Conservative Party’s supply and confidence agreement partners, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Welsh Secretary: Alun Cairns

Remaining is his position which he received early on in the May government, Cairns had a motion of no-confidence passed against him in the Welsh National Assembly following government plans to scrap the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.

He supports remaining in the EU single-market and rejects the title of “soft Brexit”.

Scottish Secretary: Alister Jack 

The previous lord commissioner of the treasury until being promoted on Wednesday to secretary of state for Scotland, Jack is a rare Scottish advocate for leaving the European Union.

Leader of the House of Lords: Baroness Evans 

Evans was made a life-peer in 2014, she was later appointed leader of the House of Lords following Theresa May’s victory in the 2016 Conservative leadership race and has retained that position.

She also served as head of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce and placed significant emphasis on education.

Attorney General: Geoffrey Cox

​Keeping with the trend of maintaining some remnants of Theresa May’s government, Johnson kept Cox on as attorney general.

A Cambridge graduate and barrister, he worked as a legal defender on notable cases around the world, including successfully defending the former-premier of the Cayman Islands on charges of corruption.

Minister Without Portfolio: James Cleverly 

​Coming into prominence since the 2016 referendum, where he advocated a leave vote, Cleverly has been promoted to a member of the Cabinet albeit without a department of state to oversee.

Cleverly has a history with Boris Johnson during his tenure as Mayor of London from 2004 – 2016, where he was appointed as Johnson’s youth ambassador.

Housing Minister: Esther McVey

​McVey was the work and pensions secretary from January until November 2018 when she resigned after seeing Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement.

She attempted a run for the position as leader of the Conservative Party following Mrs May’s resignation but was eliminated in the first round.

Leader of the House of Commons: Jacob Rees-Mogg

The ERG Chairman and long-term Boris Johnson ally has established himself as part of the fabric of British politics as an arch-Brexiteer.

Known for his old-fashioned and eccentric personality and appearance, the former backbencher and “Honourable Member for the 17th-century” has found himself in a top job in the Johnson Cabinet, a promotion which he described as “interesting” following his appointment.

Education and BEIS Minister: Jo Johnson

The PM’s younger brother and fellow Bullingdon Club member.

Johnson had previously resigned from Theresa May’s Cabinet in response to the WA and advocates a “people’s vote” on the deal, ironically making him the most serious Remainer in the new government.

Twitter was quick to point out the diverse nature of Johnson’s Cabinet, seemingly in response to accusations of “racism”.

The labelling of the PM as a “racist” is based on accusations in the past regarding condoning an article that claimed black people have low IQs as well as using the term “flag-waving piccaninnies”, an archaic racial slur in an article in The Telegraph.

Others were disappointed with the reshuffle, calling it “middle-management”.

​It has also been pointed out the significant amount of new cabinet members who were re-appointees.

Analysts also identified a drive to the right for the Conservative Party’s Cabinet picks ever since David Cameron’s 2010 government.

Others have predicted the set-up for a general election.

Sputnik

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