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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Truss rewards allies with cabinet roles


Liz Truss has rewarded her key allies with top jobs in a major reshuffle hours after taking charge as the new UK prime minister.

For the first time, none of the top four “great offices of state” – prime minister, chancellor, home secretary and foreign secretary – is held by a white man.

None of those who backed Rishi Sunak will remain in her full cabinet, with Dominic Raab, Grant Shapps, George Eustice and Steve Barclay all returning to the backbenches, the BBC reported.

Kwasi Kwarteng is made chancellor, James Cleverly becomes foreign secretary and Suella Braverman replaces Priti Patel as home secretary.

One of Truss’s closest friends, Therese Coffey, is appointed as health secretary and deputy PM.

Her new cabinet will meet ahead of her first Prime Minister’s Questions later Wednesday.

Truss’ press secretary said the changes would “unify” the Tory Party and pointed to senior roles for five of her leadership rivals: Suella Braverman, Tom Tugendhat as security minister, Kemi Badenoch as trade secretary, Penny Mordaunt as leader of the Commons, and Nadhim Zahawi as chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Truss made her first call to a fellow foreign leader, pledging the UK’s ongoing support to Ukraine in a call with president Volodymyr Zelensky. No 10 said she was also “delighted” to accept an invitation to visit Ukraine.

She later spoke to US President Joe Biden, where the pair discussed the importance of the UK reaching an agreement with the EU over post-Brexit trading rules in Northern Ireland, the BBC report said.

Truss finished her first tranche of appointments late Tuesday, with new Chancellor Kwarteng tweeting that getting the job was “the honour of a lifetime”. He is expected to be finalising plans for energy bill support which would see a typical household bill capped at around 2,500 pound a year.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was one of the few senior minister to retain his job, where he has earned plaudits in his response to the conflict in Ukraine.

Nadine Dorries, who backed Truss, said she had been asked by the new PM to stay on as culture secretary but had decided to quit front-line politics.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, an early supporter of Truss, was appointed business, energy and industrial strategy secretary.

Sunak, the former chancellor whose resignation helped trigger the downfall of Boris Johnson, had already made it clear he did not expect to be offered a new job. His supporters though had urged Truss to appoint an “inclusive” cabinet and not simply surround herself with loyalists.

Truss was appointed the 56th prime minister of the UK by the Queen, in a ceremony at Balmoral on Tuesday.

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