Levelling up: Key departments are helmed by experienced ministers, big hitters return

New Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has set about shaping his Cabinet hours after Liz Truss’s formal departure from Number 10.

Yesterday, Sunak was officially named the new leader and leader of the Conservative Party after being the only candidate remaining in the contest following late withdrawals from Penny Mordaunt (Boris Johnson) and Penny Mordaunt (Penny Mordaunt).

Jeremy Hunt, whose appointment as Chancellor marked the beginning of the end of Truss’s leadership, is staying at Number 11.

He is expected to deliver the second part of his fiscal plans next Monday, following last week’s announcements that reversed almost all of Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget, which precipitated the leadership crisis in Government.

Grant Shapps

Grant Shapps, who was previously Transport Secretary and Home secretary for the last week has been appointed sixth Business Secretary in a little over three years.

Jacob Rees Mogg, who had announced his resignation earlier today, is now his replacement. Truss had appointed Rees-Mogg a bit divisively a few weeks back and had previously been publicly critical of Sunak.

Unexpectedly, Michael Gove will be returning to lead the Department for Levelling-Up. His whitepaper was a cornerstone for Government policy when it was published February. But it seemed destined to be left behind under Truss.

Michael Gove addressed Conservative Party Conference in his inaugural speech as Levelling-up Minister, October 2021.

Sunak was also not a vocal supporter levelling up, despite being first MP for a Yorkshire constituent to become Prime Minster.

Sunak boasted that he wanted to undermine efforts at rebalancing the economy to a meeting in Tunbridge wells during the summer leadership election.

He said: “We inherited a bunch of formulas from Labour that shoved all the funding into deprived urban areas and that needed to be undone. I started the work of undoing that.”

Simon Clarke (levelling-up minister), a key figure in mayoral delegation deals, and Jake Berry (Conservative Party chairman), who had previously created the Northern Research Group for Conservative MPs, both have left Cabinet.

Berry was briefly Chancellor in the summer when Nadhim Zahawi, a Stratford-upon-Avon MP, took over as party chair.

Reappointed to the roles held in Truss’s Cabinet are foreign secretary James Cleverly, Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt, international trade secretary Kemi Badenoch, and defence secretary Ben Wallace. Partly because of the ongoing war in Ukraine, Wyre and Preston North MP are the only members of the Cabinet to keep the same job through Johnson-Truss–Sunak governments this ye.

Suella Braverman is back as Home Secretary, just days after he resigned the position blaming security breaches. Dominic Raab is now back in the two roles he played under Boris Johnson, that of deputy prime minister or justice secretary.

Senior departures include West Midlands MP and chief whip Wendy Morton (ex-education secretary Kit Malthouse) and Chloe Smith (Department for Work and Pensions).

Sunak ally Mel Stride has replaced Smith. He was vocal in his criticisms about the mini-Budget, lack of OBR forecasts, and the Treasury Select Committee chair.

Earlier today Sunak had spoken outside Number 10 and said he was “not daunted” by the challenges facing his Government.

He said: “I understand how difficult this moment is. After the billions of pounds spent to fight Covid and all the disruption that was caused by a terrible war that must be ended, I understand how difficult things can be.

“And I understand too that I have work to do to restore trust after all that has happened.”

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