Below are biographies of the main movers in last week’s reshuffle. Whilst changes to the Cabinet are the focus of this article, and much media interest, it is worth recalling that many both in the Cabinet– Dominic Raab, Priti Patel, Michael Gove – and in ministerial posts – such as John Glen in the Treasury or, indeed, the whole DWP Ministerial team – have remained in place.
Having reformed much of the Vote Leave team in Government, his reshuffle is widely perceived to have been a moderated version of the radical plans put forward by Chief Adviser, Dominic Cummings. In forcing a confrontation with the Treasury, Johnson has taken on significant risk and lost his Chancellor, the one man whose job he had publicly guaranteed.
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The most controversial appointment of the recent reshuffle, Sunak replaces Sajid Javid as the head of the Treasury.
Sunak ran for selection as the Conservative candidate in the Hertsmere constituency, coming second to Oliver Dowden before being selected as the Richmond (York) candidate in October 2014. He was elected as the MP despite a 13% swing to UKIP and has had the most rapid rise to seniority since Norman Lamont. His rise up the Treasury comes at the direct expense of his former boss, Sajid Javid, and with the removal of dedicated special advisors he moves to a far weaker No11 than almost any in living memory.
Alok Sharma MP
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Alok Sharma has been promoted to Secretary of State for BEIS, replacing Andrea Leadsom. He has also been appointed of COP 26 which will take place in Glasgow later this year.
A chartered accountant who trained with Deloitte, Alok Sharma was elected in 2010 and has held frontbench roles in numerous departments. As the Minister of State for Housing, Sharma was responsible for the Government’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire. He attracted media attention when he was visibly moved while making a statement to the House of Commons on 5 July 2017 before joining the cabinet in 2019.
Secretary of State for Digital Culture, Media and Sport
Oliver Dowden has been promoted to his first major Cabinet position, replacing Nicky Morgan who has not been given a Cabinet role following her elevation to the Lords.
Cameron’s former Chief of Staff, he said he would be supporting for Boris Johnson in the 2019 leadership election. He was then given the role of Paymaster General, Minister of State, Cabinet Office; he would also be attending cabinet.
Secretary of State for International Development
Anne-Marie Trevelyan is replacing Alok Sharma as Secretary of State for International Development after Sharma’s promotion to BEIS.
In the 2019 leadership election she declared her support for Boris Johnson. When he was elected he named her as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Defence. Five months later she was promoted in the same department to become Minister of State for the Armed Forces.
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Brandon Lewis has been promoted to become Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, replacing Julian Smith.
An assiduous loyalist with a low profile but a high strike rate in the Commons, Lewis was soon marked out for promotion, and appointed junior Minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government in September 2012. In the July 2014 Cabinet reshuffle, Lewis was made Minister of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government. In June 2017, in her second reshuffle, May named Lewis as Minister of State for Immigration, still based in the Home Office, but now attending Cabinet. He was promoted to Minster without Portfolio and Chairman of the Conservative Party in January 2018.
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General
Penny Mordaunt has returned to Cabinet after being sent to the backbenches by Theresa May. She replaces Oliver Dowden who has been promoted.
Probably the only MP ever to have been a magician’s assistant, the first to deliver a Parliamentary speech entirely in sign and the only one to have worked for George W Bush, Penny Mordaunt joined the House of Commons in 2010, the frontbench in 2013, the Cabinet in 2017, before returning to the backbenches in 2019. She is tipped for future leadership.
First published in our weekly Political Capital newsletter
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