As we look at Liz Truss’s new Cabinet, her vision is evident.
Important figures who have been loyal to her both during the leadership campaign and her wider time in politics now occupy key positions. There are also some familiar faces who ran in the leadership race themselves, such as Nadhim Zahawi and Penny Mordaunt – who both rowed in behind #LizForLeader once the writing was on the walls. Truss has favoured loyalty over unity in not appointing any Rishi Suank supporters to her core Cabinet – and there was no role for Rishi himself.
Some on the more liberal wing of the Conservative Party are despairing at this new Cabinet, with one branding it the “most right-wing cabinet in 100 years.” Promotions for figures including Jacob Rees-Mogg, Kemi Badenoch, Simon Clarke, and Suella Braverman, show that the new PM seeks to bring free-market radicalism and small state instincts to the Cabinet table – in the hope that this will reinvigorate the UK economically. Meanwhile, the moderate wing of the Party is left to be represented by former Johnson Cabinet Ministers Robert Buckland and Penny Mordaunt.
Despite her long-term support for the recently departed Prime Minister, it is clear that Truss wants change (but not a clean break) from the Boris Johnson premiership. Over the coming days, it is expected that she will completely clear out his Downing Street team as part of efforts to ‘trim the fat’ of the Number 10 machine and in pursuit of a less presidential premiership which empowers her team to deliver her agenda.
Truss has said that she wanted to appoint a Cabinet which represents ‘all the talents’ of the Conservative Party. Whether she has done so or not will remain up for debate as we watch how these new Ministers settle into their roles and seek to master their briefs. But they do so during uncertain times. Any political honeymoon is likely to be short-lived, with an overflowing in-tray of thorny issues including the prospect of an autumn of strikes, the NHS and ambulance services on their knees, the conflict in Ukraine showing no sign of easing, and an ongoing row with Brussels over how to implement Brexit in Northern Ireland.
With only two years until the next general election, Truss will have to work hard to implement her vision for a low-tax, high-economic growth Britain, and to convince the electorate that her plan is the right one.
She will need a Cabinet focused on delivery, the watchword of Truss’s campaign to become PM, as the ability of the Ministers could define her administration.
Find Out More
November 20, 2023
November 15, 2023