It is another tumultuous day in British politics, as Theresa May continued to unveil her new-look cabinet, sweeping away the remnants of David Cameron’s era.
The first head to roll on Thursday was Michael Gove, a prominent Brexit campaigner, and rival for Conservative party leadership before being eliminated in the final round of voting.
Two of the biggest promotions went to women, Liz Truss as Justice Secretary and Justine Greening as Education Secretary. Andrea Leadsom, who dropped out of the Conservative leadership race, was rewarded with the post of Environment Secretary.
False rumours circulated about the sacking of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Some even suggested July 14 become a national holiday to celebrate his departure, but Hunt quipped back saying ‘reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated’ adding he was ‘happy to be back in the best job in government’. Many junior doctors accuse Hunt of ‘killing the NHS’ over his threat to impose a controversial contract on them.
Chris Grayling, who ran May’s leadership campaign has been moved sideways from Leader of the Commons to Transport Secretary, and David Mundell is to stay on as Scottish Secretary.
He has already signalled that Scotland could go ahead with securing a different Brexit deal from the rest of the UK, after the Scottish First Minister said ‘Remain means Remain’ for those north of the border.
- Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond
- Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson
- Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, David Davis
- Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox
- Home Secretary, Amber Rudd
- Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon
- Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt
- Justice Secretary, Liz Truss
- Education Secretary, Justine Greening
- Environment Secretary, Andrea Leadsom
- Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling
- Scottish Secretary, David Mundell
- Welsh Secretary, Alun Cairns
- Northern Ireland Secretary, James Brokenshire
- International Development Secretary, Priti Patel
- Work and Pensions Secretary, Damian Green
- Business and Energy Secretary, Greg Clark
- Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley
- Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid
- Leader of the House of Commons, David Lidington
- Chief Whip, Gavin Williamson
What’s next for May and Co.
The Scottish Question
Theresa May is expected to travel to Scotland on her first official engagement on Friday. The Prime Minister is to hold talks with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Edinburgh. The battle lines are being drawn. After May announced her Brexit department, headed by David Davis, Sturgeon has her own Brexit unit. She convened an expert standing council to examine how Scotland can retain a close relationship with Europe, from full independence to doing nothing, everything is on the table. Scotland has a clear interest in staying in the single market. However, Chancellor Philip Hammond insisted there would be no special deal for Scotland. In her first speech outside No 10 May made a strong point about keeping the union intact saying ‘we believe in the Union.’
Bye Bye Brussels
Although May has repeatedly stated ‘Brexit means Brexit’ what that actually means in reality is hard to pin down. With her team assembled, the work can begin. However, it looks unlikely that the government will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty until early 2017. This is despite calls from European leaders who wish to see a speedy exit. The first EU summit for the UK under May’s leadership is due on October 20.