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Out with the old: Theresa May's UK cabinet makes political push for centre ground

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Out with the old: Theresa May's UK cabinet makes political push for centre ground

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Theresa May is the woman of the hour. After a whirlwind two weeks, the eurosceptic who campaigned to Remain in the European Union is now tasked with pulling the UK out of the bloc.

The newly-appointed British Prime Minister is carrying out what many consider a bold cabinet restructure. By lunchtime in the UK, her choices had seen the right-wing Conservatives make a big push for the centre politically. Some 50 percent of the government have yet to be named.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson was perhaps biggest surprise appointment. The gaffe-prone former journalist and staunch Brexiteer becomes the new British Foreign Minister.

The appointment of has given rise to numerous suggestions that the former Mayor of London will alter the face of world diplomacy.

“Clearly now we have a massive opportunity in this country to make a great success of our new relationship with Europe and with the world and I’m very excited to be asked to play a part in that,” he said.

Reactions from the international stage have, at times, been caustic. The US reportedly said “Are you kidding?” while German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier called Johnson an “irresponsible politician.”

Brexit negotiations

Negotiations to exit the EU will be out of Johnson’s hands, though.

Fellow Leave campaigner David Davis has been appointed EU Exit Secretary – an entirely new role some say waters down the job of foreign minister.

Other appointments

As May she builds her government, she’ll have to strike a balance between Brexiteers and Remainers.

Boris Johnson succeeds Remain campaigner Philip Hammond, who became Finance Minister after George Osborne was sacked. Hammond was asked if there would be an emergency budget:

“No,” he said. “The prime minister made clear we’ll do an autumn statement in the usual way, in the autumn. And we’ll look carefully over the summer at the situation. I’m seeing the Governor of the Bank of England this morning and we’ll take stock of where we are.”

Pro-Remain MP Amber Rudd takes May’s former position as Home Secretary, meaning two out of the four top jobs are now held by women.

While Dr Liam Fox – who competed against May in the Conservative Party leadership race – becomes the International Trade Minister. He was pro-Brexit.

Natalie Jessica Evans, or to give her her full title, The Baroness Evans of Bowes Park becomes Leader of the Lords.

Liz Truss has been appointed Justice Minister, taking over from former leadership candidate, Michael Gove.

Justine Greening, formerly the International Development Minister, was highlighted as one to watch. She becomes the new Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities.

New Tory Party Chairman Patrick McLoughlin described his role as “incredibly important,” while Gavin Williamson said he felt “very privileged” to become the new chief whip.

Michael Fallon stays in place as Defence Secretary, as does Health Minister Jeremy Hunt, despite initial information suggesting he had been sacked, or at least moved.

Who is missing?

Former Justice Minister Michael Gove, who was also in the running in the earlier stages of the Tory leadership race, is gone. He has been told there won’t be a place for him in the new cabinet.

Also out is Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary.

While John Whittingdale has quit his post as Secretary of Culture and Oliver Letwin is no longer the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Theresa Villiers has stepped down as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Who to look out for

Stephen Crabb has been in and out of Number 10, suggesting he has been offered a position in the cabinet.

The British media report there are rumours the group known as the ‘Friends of George’ (Osborne) are on their way out of government. Cabinet Office Minister and Paymaster General, Matthew Hancock has been mentioned, as have Business, Innovation and Skills Minister Sajid Javid and Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries.

Damian Green and Brandon Lewis, each designated spokespeople for May during her leadership campaign, are also expected to be offered posts.

Meanwhile, there have been suggestions that May will appoint a number of women into her government. Government Whip Anne Milton has had her name thrown into the mix, as have Karen Bradley, the MP for the Staffordshire Moorlands and Under Secretary of State in the Home Office and Priti Patel, MP for Witham.

And junior Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom, who was head-to-head with May in the leadership race, is also expected to be offered a position in the new government. She stepped down on Monday, paving the way for May to become Britain’s second-ever female prime minister.

Everything hangs in the balance, but one certainty is that by the time May has finished, Whitehall will have gone through a radical restructure.

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