In an astonishing return just days after she quit Ms. Truss’s cabinet, he re-appointed hardline right-winger Suella Braverman as interior minister, in-charge of policing and immigration control
Britain’s new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on October 25 retained several senior ministers from predecessor Liz Truss’s top team, including Jeremy Hunt as Finance Minister, as he bids for a stable transition.
Mr. Sunak, 42, kept James Cleverly as foreign secretary and Ben Wallace in defence, despite them both backing an aborted comeback by ex-leader Boris Johnson.
In an astonishing return just days after she quit Ms. Truss’s cabinet, he re-appointed hardline right-winger Suella Braverman as interior minister, in-charge of policing and immigration control.
Mr. Sunak also kept his most recent leadership rival Penny Mordaunt, who withdrew from the race Monday after failing to secure enough Tory MPs’ support, as Leader of the House of Commons.
The role—which oversees government business in parliament—is neither a promotion nor demotion, but may disappoint Ms. Mordaunt, who had been tipped for more senior roles such as foreign secretary.
The appointments appear aimed at signalling continuity in top portfolios after the dramatic upheavals seen under Ms. Truss.
Grant Shapps, a longtime Johnson loyalist who had briefly replaced Ms. Braverman at the interior ministry and backed Mr. Sunak in the latest leadership contest, was named business secretary.
The role involves partial oversight of climate policy.
Mr. Shapps replaced Mr. Johnson’s close ally Jacob Rees-Mogg, who was one of at least 10 ministers to leave the cabinet under Mr. Sunak’s new rule.
Other appointments included Simon Hart as chief whip in charge of party discipline in the House of Commons, which unravelled under Ms. Truss and threw government business into disarray.
Oliver Dowden was named chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, making him a key troubleshooter across cabinet departments.
Nadhim Zahawi became a minister without portfolio, while also reportedly being appointed chairman of the Conservative Party.
Standing in front of his Downing Street office, Mr. Sunak said he would try to fix the mess left by his predecessor, restore faith in politics and tackle a “profound economic crisis” but warned the country there would be difficult decisions.
Mr. Sunak paid tribute to Liz Truss, whose economic programme roiled the markets, saying the mistakes she made were not “born of ill will or bad intentions”. Mr. Sunak spoke for five minutes and 56 seconds—longer than the time taken by nearly all of his predecessors when they made similar remarks at the start of their premiership, TheIndependent newspaper reported.
“I want to pay tribute to my predecessor Liz Truss… Some mistakes were made. Not born of ill will or bad intentions. Quite the opposite in fact. But mistakes nonetheless,” he said.
“And I have been elected as leader of my party and your Prime Minister, in part to fix them. And that work begins immediately. I will place economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda. This will mean difficult decisions to come.”
Appealing to a pubic facing rising energy and food prices, Mr. Sunak, one of the wealthiest lawmakers in Parliament, said he fully appreciated how hard things were for many.
When he was Treasury chief, Mr. Sunak became popular with the public by handing out billions in support to shuttered businesses and laid-off workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But now he will have to oversee tax hikes and public spending cuts as he tries to bring inflation and government debt under control.
Acknowledging “difficult decisions to come,” Mr. Sunak tried to draw a line under the chaos that engulfed Ms. Truss and her predecessor, Mr. Johnson. He said his government “will have integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level.”
“All I can say is that I am not daunted. I know the high office I have accepted and I hope to live up to its demands,” he said.
“So I stand here before you ready to lead our country into the future. To put your needs above politics, to reach out and build a government that represents the very best traditions of my party. Together we can achieve incredible things.”
News Source : The Hindu