New UK cabinet a brutal exercise: Who’s in, who’s out

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Jul 14, 2016 22:15 IST
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives in Downing Street, London, on Thursday. May is filling more cabinet posts as she assembles a government that includes prominent anti-EU figures in key roles. (AP)

Prime Minister Theresa May has been in office for barely a day, but she has already lived up to her reputation as a tough, no-nonsense leader, sweeping big names from the David Cameron cabinet and appointing senior Tory figures in key positions.

Besides sacking chancellor George Osborne, May dropped four senior figures who held cabinet level positions: Michael Gove, John Whittingdale, Oliver Letwin and Nicky Morgan. Survivors from former premier Cameron’s cabinet include Michael Fallon, Justine Greening and Liz Truss.

May reportedly delivered the message to those dropped in person, prompting observers to describe the exercise as “brutal, with a lot of blood on the carpet”. She was in the process of making more appointments on Thursday.

She appointed three leading Brexiters to key cabinet positions - Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis.

Priti Patel, who was minister of state for employment in the Cameron government, was appointed to the cabinet-level post of international development secretary.

Patel, 44, was one of the leading lights of the Brexit camp, but later supported May during the five-cornered contest for the new Conservative leader and prime minister. She was born in London to Indian-origin parents who moved here from Uganda.

Sajid Javid, who was business secretary in the Cameron government and closely involved in talks with the Tata Group on the sale of its UK assets, has been moved to the communities department by May.

The new team includes:

David Davis - Appointed secretary in the new department of “Exiting the European Union”. A senior Tory, he was last in government as a Foreign Office minister in 1994. Davis is known for his principled opposition to erosion of civil liberties as part of the Cameron government’s anti-terrorism plans, resigning as an MP in 2008 and being re-elected in a by-election.

Liam Fox - A medical doctor, Fox is the new secretary for international trade, another new creation likely to be tasked with leading trade negotiations with the EU as part of the Brexit process, and with other countries. He was defence secretary in 2011 and a leading figure in the Brexit camp.

Amber Rudd - A former business journalist who entered the House of Commons in 2010, Rudd was “aristocracy coordinator“ in the popular romantic comedy “Four Weddings And A Funeral”. She has seen a rapid rise in politics, from being a parliamentary private secretary to chancellor Osborne to home secretary under May.

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