Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Who is in the prime minister’s top team?

by admin
Who is in the prime minister’s top team?
  • Rishi Sunak is the UK’s first British Asian prime minister.

    He won the leadership contest which followed the resignation of Liz Truss, receiving nominations from more than half of his party’s MPs.

    He was chancellor during the coronavirus pandemic, and introduced the furlough scheme, spending huge amounts to keep the economy afloat.

    His reputation was dented by a controversy over his wife’s tax affairs and a fine for breaching lockdown rules.

    In July 2022, he was one of the first to quit Boris Johnson’s cabinet, paving the way for the stream of resignations.

    He became an MP in 2015 – for the North Yorkshire constituency of Richmond.

  • Oliver Dowden is deputy prime minister, Cabinet Office secretary and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster under Rishi Sunak.

    The breadth of roles means he’ll be responsible for running the Cabinet Office, the department that supports the prime minister and co-ordinates the government’s policies to deliver its agenda.

    Mr Dowden’s most recent role before Sunak’s premiership was Conservative Party chairman. However, he quit in June 2022, after the Tories suffered two significant by-election defeats.

    As culture secretary under former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mr Dowden waded into the “culture wars”, arguing that museums should “retain and explain” controversial statues rather than remove them.

    Before being elected as MP for Hertsmere in 2015, he worked in Downing Street advising David Cameron and was made his deputy chief of staff. He was later awarded a CBE for his services.

  • Jeremy Hunt remains in his post as chancellor.

    He was appointed chancellor by former prime minister Liz Truss earlier in October after turmoil in the financial markets following the mini-budget, which led to the sacking of her first choice Kwasi Kwarteng.

    His initial appointment – and subsequent move to scrap almost all the tax cuts his predecessor had promised – calmed financial markets. The need to encourage economic stability was a key reason to keep him in post.

    He was first elected to parliament in 2005 and joined the cabinet under PM David Cameron as secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics.

    He went on to become health secretary, where he faced criticism from junior doctors over plans to introduce new contracts, but also secured a funding increase for the NHS. Mr Hunt became foreign secretary in 2018.

    The MP for South West Surrey has twice stood unsuccessfully for the party leadership, losing to Boris Johnson in 2019.

  • James Cleverly has been appointed home secretary by Rishi Sunak.

    He was originally appointed foreign secretary in Liz Truss’s government, taking over her former department, and kept the post when Sunak became PM.

    Mr Cleverly was a foreign minister previously, for the Middle East and North Africa, and later for Europe and North America.

    He served in the Territorial Army and went to Sandhurst and, outside of work, enjoys painting model soldiers and hanging out with his border terriers.

    Elected as MP for Braintree in Essex in 2015, the Brexit supporter held a number a junior ministerial roles under former Prime Minister Theresa May before moving to the Foreign Office.

  • Former Prime Minister David Cameron has been appointed foreign secretary by Mr Sunak, bringing a level of diplomatic experience hard to find elsewhere in the party.

    Mr Cameron stepped down from leading the country in 2016 after the Brexit referendum, having been prime minister since the 2010 general election.

    Mr Cameron resigned as an MP shortly after that and now returns to government as a lord in the upper chamber of Parliament rather than an elected politician.

    He spent his seven-year break from Parliament in a mixture of roles across business, the charity sector and academia. He was heavily criticised for lobbying the government, including texting Mr Sunak, on behalf of Greensill Capital, from which he made millions of pounds. An investigation later cleared him of wrongdoing.

    He also published a memoir about his time in government, famously buying a £25,000 shepherd’s hut to use as a writing space.

  • Grant Shapps is defence secretary under Rishi Sunak.
    He was previously business secretary until Ben Wallace resigned from the defence role in July and announced his decision to leave Parliament at the next election.

    Mr Shapps was fired by Ms Truss as transport secretary because he supported her rival, Mr Sunak, in the 2022 Tory leadership contest.

    However, he made a miraculous comeback when he was brought back as home secretary as her government began to fall apart.

    Mr Shapps is known for monitoring political rebellions, using spreadsheets to record his colleagues’ views.

    He set up his own successful printing business, before being elected MP for Welwyn Hatfield in Hertfordshire in 2005.

  • Alex Chalk is justice secretary under Rishi Sunak.

    He was appointed to the role after his predecessor Dominc Raab was forced to resign over bullying allegations, which he denied.

    He previously served as a defence minister under Mr Sunak and was the prisons minister and solicitor general in Mr Johnson’s government, but resigned as part of the wave of resignations which brought down the former PM in July 2022.

    Elected MP for Cheltenham at the 2015 general election, Mr Chalk was a criminal barrister in cases involving fraud, homicide and terrorism before entering politics.

  • Victoria Atkins has been appointed health secretary by Rishi Sunak.

    Until now, she has been the financial secretary to the Treasury – a post she’s held since Sunak took office in October 2022.

    Between 2021 and 2022, Atkins was a minister at the Ministry of Justice and for Afghan Resettlement. She led work on prison operations and tackling violence against women.

    Prior to this, between 2017 and 2021, Atkins worked on domestic abuse and sexual exploitation in her role at the Home Office.

    Before becoming MP for Louth & Horncastle in 2015, Victoria Atkins was a criminal barrister specialising in prosecuting serious organised crime.

  • Kemi Badenoch is business and trade secretary under Rishi Sunak and also minister for women and equalities.

    She has led the Department for Business and Trade since Mr Sunak’s February reshuffle, after taking on the international trade brief under Ms Truss and surprising many by reaching the last four in the 2022 Tory leadership contest.

    She was a former minister in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

    Ms Badenoch, who has been outspoken on issues such as gender-neutral toilets which she opposes, stood on an “anti-woke” platform and argued for the state to be slimmed down.

    The former software engineer worked in banking and later as a director of the Spectator magazine before being elected to the London Assembly.

    She became MP for Saffron Walden in Essex in 2017, and lists her interests as including engineering and technology, social mobility and integration.

  • Penny Mordaunt is leader of the House of Commons.

    In the role, she is responsible for delivering the government’s legislative programme, by working closely with the chief whip to manage Commons business, like motions and debates.

    Ms Mordaunt’s profile rose significantly after she stood for the party leadership in both the recent contests – and many had called for her to be given a more prominent role under Rishi Sunak.

    Over the summer she made it to the final three and in the latest race she withdrew minutes before the result was announced after it became clear she did not have enough support from her fellow Tory MPs.

    The MP for Portsmouth North since 2010, she was previously a trade minister for Boris Johnson.

    The former magician’s assistant appeared on ITV’s celebrity diving show Splash!, but she may now be more widely remembered for her role carrying the sword of state at King Charles III’s coronation.

    The former magician’s assistant is perhaps best known outside Westminster for appearing on ITV’s celebrity diving show Splash!

  • Mel Stride is work and pensions secretary.

    He is a close ally of Rishi Sunak and ran both his leadership campaigns.

    As chairman of the influential Commons Treasury Committee since 2019, he had been a strong critic of Liz Truss’s economic approach, as well as playing an important role in scrutinising the government’s financial support during the Covid pandemic.

    Previously he held a handful of junior ministerial roles, including in the Treasury and business department. He also served as leader of the House of Commons under Theresa May.

    Before becoming MP for Central Devon in 2010, he ran a business with his wife specialising in trade conferences and exhibitions.

  • Gillian Keegan is education secretary.

    MP for Chichester since 2017, she left school at 16 to work as an apprentice at a car factory. She went on to have a career of almost 30 years in manufacturing, banking and IT.

    As a junior minister in the Department for Education she was the first person who had completed an apprenticeship to be the minister responsible for them.

    She has also been a health minister, with responsibility for care and mental health, between September 2021 and September 2022 during the latter half of the Covid pandemic, and most recently a Foreign Office minister.

  • Steve Barclay has been appointed environment secretary by Mr Sunak.

    He was previously health secretary, a role he briefly held under Mr Johnson before he lost his cabinet position in Ms Truss’s reshuffle of September 2022. Mr Sunak reappointed him health secretary a month later.

    Mr Barclay had previously been chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and minister for the Cabinet Office.

    Mr Johnson also appointed him as chief of staff at No 10 during a shake-up of his top team following the Partygate scandal. He had previously served as chief secretary to the Treasury and Brexit secretary.

    The former insurance company solicitor was elected MP for North East Cambridgeshire in 2010.

  • Mark Harper is appointed transport secretary.

    A former chief whip, responsible for party discipline, he first joined government as a minister for constitutional reform under David Cameron.

    In 2012 he was appointed immigration minister but resigned from the post two years later after it was revealed his cleaner did not have permission to work in the UK.

    He was later restored to office as a minister for disabled people and in 2015 he was promoted to chief whip.

    During the pandemic his was a vocal opponent of lockdown restrictions as chairman of the Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs.

    Before entering politics, he qualified as an accountant and worked for a big corporation before setting up his own chartered accountancy.

  • Michael Gove is Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

    The Conservatives said ‘levelling up’ was one of their key priorities during the 2019 election campaign. The aim of the department is to “support communities across the UK to thrive, making them great places to live and work”.

    Mr Gove previously ran the department under Boris Johnson, but was sacked in July after urging the prime minister to resign.

    He had a fraught relationship with Mr Johnson. The pair worked closely together while campaigning for Brexit but in 2016 Mr Gove famously derailed the leadership hopes of his friend by running against him.

    Mr Gove was also a key ally of former Prime Minister David Cameron and has served as MP for Surrey Heath since 2005.

    He made his name as a radical education secretary, bringing in major changes to exams and the curriculum and battling teaching unions during his four years in the role.

    He also previously served as justice secretary.

  • Lucy Frazer is culture secretary under Rishi Sunak.

    She has held a breadth of government roles across Whitehall, including in the Treasury, but this is her first cabinet role.

    In 2019 she successfully campaigned for upskirting to become a criminal offence in England and Wales.

    But in 2021 she was caught up in a row after her husband’s company supplied workers on a government contract who were found to be using tax avoidance schemes. The government insisted she had done nothing wrong.

    She was elected MP for South East Cambridgeshire in 2015, not far from where she studied at Cambridge University, where she was also president of the Cambridge Union.

  • Simon Hart is chief whip.

    The job of chief whip is to ensure party discipline in the House of Commons. It means he will be responsible for making sure MPs vote in line with party policy.

    Mr Hart had previously served as Welsh secretary under Boris Johnson between 2019 and 2022 and was also a junior minister at the Cabinet Office.

    He was among those to resign from the cabinet in July as Mr Johnson’s premiership collapsed.

    Elected as MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire in 2010, he has a background in rural affairs having been chief executive of the Countryside Alliance.

    Prior to becoming an MP, he also worked as a chartered surveyor and served with the Territorial Army for five years.

  • Chris Heaton-Harris is Northern Ireland secretary.

    He took on the role under Liz Truss when it was regarded by some as a bit of a poisoned chalice – the nation is currently without a functioning devolved government.

    One of his key priorities has been resolving tensions over the Northern Ireland protocol – which the DUP has argued is necessary if it is to re-enter into power sharing in Northern Ireland.

    The qualified football referee describes himself as a fierce Eurosceptic but he will need to engage with the EU in negotiations about the protocol.

    Before becoming a politician, Mr Heaton-Harris ran his family’s wholesale fruit and vegetable business in New Covent Garden Market.

  • Alister Jack is secretary of state for Scotland, a role he has held since Boris Johnson became prime minister in 2019.

    He is a former government whip.

    Before entering parliament as MP for Dumfries and Galloway in 2017, Mr Jack was a businessman who founded tent-hire and self-storage companies.

    Mr Jack is also a dairy farmer and grows Christmas trees.

  • David TC Davies is secretary of state for Wales.

    He previously held a junior ministerial role in the department and was chairman of the Commons Welsh Affairs Committee between 2010 and 2019.

    Elected as MP for Monmouth in 2005, he speaks fluent Welsh and was a vocal supporter of Brexit.

    He previously worked for British Steel and was in the Territorial Army, serving for 18 months as a Gunner with 104 Air Defence Regiment at Raglan Barracks Newport.

    A keen sportsman, he has fought in several charity boxing matches as “The Tory Tornado” and is a former president of the Welsh Amateur Boxing Association.

  • Lord True has been reappointed leader of the House of Lords.

    The role, which he was originally given by Liz Truss, sees him responsible for delivery of the government’s legislative programme in the Upper House.

    A former Cabinet Office minister, he replaced Baroness Evans who had held the position since 2016.

    Before being made a life peer in 2010, Lord True had been leader of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and before that had worked in John Major’s policy unit when he was prime minister.

    A fluent Italian speaker, who has previously lived and studied in the country, he lists his interests as including history, gardening and sport.

  • Victoria Prentis is Attorney General – the chief legal adviser to the government – and attends cabinet.

    She has previously served as a minister in the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

    She has been MP for Banbury since 2015.

    Before becoming an MP she was a lawyer in the Civil Service and headed up the government’s Justice and Security team, which involved representing the government in court.

  • Laura Trott has been appointed chief secretary to the Treasury, replacing John Glen.

    Her role as what is the second-most senior post in the Treasury is responsible for public expenditure, including spending reviews and strategic planning.

    Before joining cabinet, Trott was a junior minister at the Department for Work and Pensions.

    The MP for Sevenoaks was first elected to parliament in December 2019.

  • John Glen moves from being chief secretary to the treasury to Paymaster General under Rishi Sunak.

    He may attend cabinet and will essentially act as minister without portfolio and have various responsibilities.

    Mr Glen previously served as a minister and economic secretary in the Treasury, as well as city minister.

    He was first elected to Parliament as the Conservative MP for Salisbury in 2010.

    The infamous novichok poisonings of Sergei and Julia Skripal, as well as Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, took place in his constituency In 2018.

  • Johnny Mercer has been named minister for veterans’ affairs in the Cabinet Office and will also attend cabinet.

    He previously held the same position under Boris Johnson, but was replaced by Liz Truss when she took over as prime minister.

    He also served as a defence minister and Cabinet Office minister – without attending cabinet – between 2019 and 2021, having been elected MP for Plymouth Moor View in 2015.

    Before becoming an MP he served in the Army for 12 years and completed three tours in Afghanistan.

    He is on both the Commons defence and health select committees and chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group for Mental Health.

  • Tom Tugendhat is security minister in the Home Office.

    He was given the role by Liz Truss after reaching the final five in the Conservative leadership race after Boris Johnson resigned earlier this year.

    The former Territorial Army officer, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee since 2017.

    He’s always been considered part of the “centrist” One Nation group of Tory MPs.

    He was highly critical of the withdrawal from Afghanistan by Western forces in 2021 and of Mr Johnson during his premiership.

  • Robert Jenrick is minister for immigration in the Home Office and attends cabinet.

    He first joined government as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury under Theresa May and also served as Housing Secretary under Boris Johnson.

    He was one of the few Sunak allies to make it into Liz Truss’s team, albeit as a junior health minister rather than the cabinet role he had held previously.

    He drew criticism in 2017 when, as chair of the all-party parliamentary group on international trade, he attended US President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

    A qualified solicitor, before he was elected as MP for Newark in 2014, Mr Jenrick pursued a career in business, including as international managing director at art firm Christie’s.

  • Andrew Mitchell is development minister at the Foreign Office and attends cabinet.

    He previously served as international development secretary from 2010 to 2012 under David Cameron and became Tory chief whip in 2012.

    Mr Mitchell hit the headlines in 2012 after an altercation with police when he attempted to leave Downing Street on his bicycle. He admitted swearing at officers but denied calling them “plebs”.

    He was a government whip between 1993 and 1995, and social security minister from 1995 to 1997 under John Major.

    He lost his seat in 1997 but returned to Parliament four years later as MP for Sutton Coldfield.

    Before his Cambridge university student days, Mr Mitchell served in the Royal Tank Regiment and was a UN peacekeeper in Cyprus in the 1970s.

  • Claire Coutinho is the energy and net zero secretary under Mr Sunak, responsible for how the UK responds to climate change and lowers its emissions of greenhouse gases.

    She only became an MP in 2019 but has been a close ally of Mr Sunak, working with him at the Treasury before she joined Parliament and again at the chancellor’s office after election.

    She was a junior minister in the Department for Work and Pensions under Ms Truss and then in the Department for Education when Mr Sunak came to power, where she was widely seen to have managed a tricky brief overseeing childcare.

    Before politics she worked for an investment bank and think tanks, and once appeared as a contestant on Nigella Lawson’s cooking show The Taste on Channel 4.

  • Michelle Donelan is science secretary under Rishi Sunak, leading the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology Sunak created in early 2023.

    She was previously culture secretary, having served in the same role under Ms Truss, and holds the record for the shortest-serving cabinet minister in British history. She resigned as education secretary just two days into the role as part of the mass ministerial walkout which led to then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson stepping down.

    Previously a government whip, Ms Donelan worked in the media and entertainment industry before entering Parliament, including a period as communications manager at professional wrestling firm WWE.

    The MP for Chippenham, first elected in 2015, went to a state school and was the first in her family to attend university.

  • Richard Holden has been appointed chairman of the Conservative Party by Mr Sunak.

    Technically, he’ll be a minister without portfolio in Mr Sunak’s cabinet.

    This means he won’t be responsible for a particular department, but as party chairman, he’ll have a senior role in policy discussions and decisions with other ministers.

    A former Conservative Party press officer and political adviser, the MP for North West Durham had served as a junior minister for roads and local transport since October 2022.

    He studied government and history at the London School of Economics and worked as a waiter before entering politics.

  • Esther McVey has been appointed Minister of State at Cabinet Office.

    Previously McVey was a minister at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government from July 2019 to February 2020, and she was Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from January to November 2018.

    She was elected MP for Tatton in 2017 and was previously MP for Wirral West from 2010 to 2015.

    McVey is also known for working as a journalist and broadcaster.

    She was the first MP to employ an apprentice and introduced the scheme to the House of Commons.

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