On his first day as Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak assembled a Cabinet that included some safe bets, a few familiar faces - and one highly controversial choice.
A number of cabinet ministers, including former Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg and former Levelling Up Secretary Simon Clarke, quit ahead of the reshuffle - sparking a fair deal of conversation. But it was Suella Braverman’s return as Home Secretary that led to widespread criticism, coming less than a week after she resigned for breaking the Ministerial Code.
The Prime Minister had promised to form a government of “all the talents” amidst calls from senior Tories to appoint the best ministers available - rather than focusing on those who are loyal to him. Here’s who he opted for in the end.
Rishi Sunak’s new Cabinet in full:
Chancellor of the Exchequer - Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt is the first confirmed member of Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet. It is not a surprise to many, as he has been a supporter of the new Prime Minister since the first leadership race. He is also relatively well-respected amongst his fellow Tories - seen as a calm and experienced hand - with many praising his recent actions for going some way to calm the financial markets.
Hunt became Chancellor a little under two weeks ago, after his predecessor Kwasi Kwarteng was sacked following huge fallout from the government’s catastrophic mini budget.
Foreign Secretary - James Cleverly
James Cleverly is another government minister who is staying in place. Commentators have suggested that keeping the same Foreign Secretary will help keep some sense of constancy in government - particularly in an area that recently has seen so much distress and turbulence.
There had been speculation that the Prime Minister’s leadership rival Penny Mordaunt could be given the role as a potential symbol of unity after such in-party division, but this has not been the case.
Home Secretary - Suella Braverman
Suella Braverman has been appointed as Home Secretary less than one week after she announced her shock resignation from the same role in Truss’ Cabinet. The Tory MP left office after breaching government security laws.
Her departure came just after her involvement with a few other controversies - namely, blaming protests on “tofu-eating wokerati” to saying her “dream” was to see a flight of asylum seekers departing to Rwanda. Sunak may have been reluctant to bring her back to government so quickly, but it’s been seen as a bid to bring together the warring party, and there have been rumours that a deal was struck at the weekend, in return for her support in the leadership contest.
Health Secretary - Steve Barclay
Steve Barclay is to become the new Health Secretary. He previously served the role during the last stretch of Boris Johnson’s premiership, before being replaced by Thérèse Coffey for a total of seven weeks.
Truss showed huge confidence in Coffey by appointing her as both Health Secretary and Deputy PM. Rumours swirled that Sunak was unlikely to give her the same roles once more - rumours which turned out to be correct.
Deputy PM and Justice Secretary - Dominic Raab
Dominic Raab has been appointed Deputy PM and Justice Secretary in a return to the roles he served in under Boris Johnson. It comes after his predecessor Brandon Lewis submitted his resignation, writing on Twitter that “the new PM will have my support from the backbenches.”
Defence Secretary - Ben Wallace
Ben Wallace has been reappointed as Defence Secretary. He is one of the few secretaries who managed to keep his job during both Johnson and Truss’ time in office. Sunak’s appointment is likely a recognition of the role he has played in helping manage the UK’s response to the conflict in Ukraine.
Levelling Up Secretary - Michael Gove
Michael Gove has made another comeback to the Cabinet. This time he returns to his previous role of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary.
Gove has had his fair share of ups and downs under various leaderships. His last stint as Levelling Up Secretary saw him being fired from Boris Johnson’s Cabinet - which happened hours before MPs put pressue on Johnson to resign. He replaces Simon Clarke.
Environment Secretary - Therese Coffey
The role of Environment Secretary was one of the earliest to be up for grabs after Ranil Jayawardena, appointed by Truss, resigned from the Cabinet after Sunak became Prime Minister. He was primarily given the position of Environment Secretary as a reward for his loyalty to Truss, so it’s not entirely surprising he did not want to serve under a new administration.
Instead, another Liz Truss loyalist has been given the job she once held before - Therese Coffey. Many questioned whether she would be given a job in Sunak’s Cabinet, given her loyalty to his predecessor, but she has been confirmed as Environment Secretary.
Business Secretary - Grant Shapps
Grant Shapps, who was recently drafted in to replace Braverman in the Home Office, has been appointed Business Secretary. His predecessor Jacob Rees-Mogg resigned a mere hour or so after the new Prime Minister’s first speech, which came as no real shock considering in the past Rees-Mogg called Sunak a “socialist” and said he would refuse to serve under a government led by him.
International Trade Secretary - Kemi Badenoch
Kemi Badenoch is another minister staying in place. It has been confirmed that she will continue as International Trade Secretary.
Badenoch became a notable figure in the Conservative Party after taking part in the leadership election during the summer. Her campaign picked up steam somewhat surprisingly during the race, given her relatively lower ranking in the party. But she defied initial expectations by finishing ahead of MPs such as Nadhim Zahawi and Suella Braverman.
Who else has been appointed to the Cabinet?
Other Tory MPs who have been appointed to the Cabinet include:
- Oliver Dowden - Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
- Simon Hart - Chief Whip
- Nadhim Zahawi - Minister Without Portfolio, and Conservative Party Chair
- David Davies - Wales Secretary
- Chrius Heaton-Harris - Northern Ireland Secretary
- Michele Donelan - Culture Secretary
- Gillian Keegan - Education Secretary
- Mel Stride - Work & Pensions Secretary
- Mark Harper - Transport Secretary
- Lord True - Lord Privy Seal
- Johnny Mercer - Veteran’s Minister
- Robert Jenrick - Immigration Minister
- Tom Tugendhat - Security Minister
- John Glen - Chief Secretary to the Treasury