Rishi Sunak reinstated Suella Braverman as home secretary only six days after she resigned from the role. Downing Street said the new cabinet “reflects a unified party.”
Ms Braverman, a favorite of the Conservative right, stepped down on the final day of Liz Truss’s premiership after admitting to sending secure government information from her personal email and being accused of breaching the ministerial code.
Labour’s Yvette Cooper accused the new PM of putting “party before country” in reinstating her in one of the four great offices of state.
“Our national security and public safety are too important for this kind of chaos,” she said.
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Elsewhere in his new cabinet, Mr Sunak culled many of those who had featured in Ms Truss’s top team – including former business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg and former justice secretary Brandon Lewis – while rewarding his allies with cabinet roles.
His closest ally Oliver Dowden was rewarded with a promotion to Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, loyalist Mark Harper was handed the role of transport secretary and Mr Sunak’s leadership campaign manager Mel Stride was given the work and pensions brief.
But there was an element of continuity with the previous administration, with James Cleverly kept on as foreign secretary and Ben Wallace as defense secretary.
Mr Sunak also revived the careers of experienced frontbenchers including Dominic Raab and Michael Gove, who was sacked by Boris Johnson in the dying days of his government after urging him to stand down.
Mr Raab was named as deputy prime minister and justice secretary, roles he held under Mr Johnson before he was sacked by Ms Truss.
Mr Gove returns as leveling up secretary, a job he held before his dismissal.
Sir Gavin Williamson makes a surprise return as cabinet office minister without portfolio, having been kicked out of government in 2019 when he was defense secretary over a National Security Council leak and then sacked as education secretary in 2021 for his handling of the pandemic’s impact on schools .
Another to return to the frontbenches is the former housing secretary Robert Jenrick who was appointed immigration minister.
Penny Mordaunt came out of the new cabinet as leader of the Commons, failing to win a promotion after she challenged Mr Sunak for the leadership.
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Mr Sunak confirmed he would be keeping Jeremy Hunt in position as chancellor in an attempt to reassure the financial markets after saying in his first speech outside Number 10 that he would fix the “mistakes” of his predecessor.
In a six-minute speech after he was officially appointed PM by King Charleshe said the UK was facing a “profound economic crisis” and prepared the nation for “difficult decisions” as he criticized his predecessor’s record.
A Number 10 source said that Mr Sunak’s cabinet “brings the talents of the party together”.
“It reflects a unified party and a cabinet with significant experience, ensuring that at this uncertain time there is continuity at the heart of government,” the source said.
“The hard work begins now and together, the prime minister’s new cabinet will deliver for the British people.”
At noon on Wednesday Mr Sunak will go head-to-head with Sir Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions.
He will then begin work on tackling the cost of living crisis and rebalancing the country’s finances, with decisions needing to be quickly made on what extra help may be required to help the most vulnerable.
He will need to confirm whether his government will be pressing ahead with its fiscal statement on Monday.
Mr Sunak became the UK’s first PM of Asian heritage and the youngest for more than 200 years when he was asked to form a government by the King at Buckingham Palace.
He entered Downing Street after winning the Conservative leadership contest on Monday, after Mr Johnson and Ms Mordaunt withdrew before a single vote was cast.
Mr Johnson, who was tipped to make a comeback less than two months after resigning as PM, offered his congratulations to Mr Sunak after his Downing Street address.
It is expected that Mr Sunak will finalize his government on Wednesday by appointing junior ministers.