Theresa May has announced her new Cabinet of Ministers. The 22 MPs who will crucially shape the UK’s future, guiding it through the Brexit process, are already being met with scrutiny. May’s ‘shock’ appointments stirred groans from those who were in favour of remain, whilst simultaneously some of her more traditionally ‘safe’ appointments have conjured criticism from hard-line Brexiteers. Take a look at some of your new cabinet, what they did to get to their position and what they stand for.
First of all, we have the losers of the Conservative leadership battle who did enough to still receive a cabinet position for their trouble. Andrea Leadsom as Environment secretary, seems to be an unpopular decision amongst those in the environment and agriculture industries. She has absolutely zero experience in the field and has incredibly short-sighted views over issues such as climate change. However, startling as it may seem that she is more concerned with fox hunting than saving the planet; due to her role in Brexit and subsequent Conservative leadership battle, she almost had to receive some kind of role. Unfortunately, the environment sector were given the short straw.
Liam Fox and Sajid Javid also gained positions in the cabinet. Fox, who has a track record of holding the record for the largest over-claim on expenses and resigning from defence secretary position due to sketchy behaviour with best-bud Adam Werrity, has reportedly managed to clash with Theresa May over the nuances of Brexit just a couple of weeks into his new job as international secretary. However, many would argue that it is necessary to have a strong Brexiteer near the front of international politics and due to a lack of actual prevalent pro-Brexit MPs, Fox was a likely choice.
Javid on the other hand, has been given the role of Communities and Local Government Secretary and thus far seems to be just getting on with the job with relatively little news coming from his position as of yet.
Now for Boris. As mentioned in my previous article, it is not surprising to see Johnson back at the forefront of politics. Foreign Secretary, probably the third most important position in politics did come as a surprise though. Again, his lack of any cabinet experience brings questions about his suitability. Also, his foreign reputation as a bit of an idiot (for lack of a better word) raises concerns over whether the UK’s international reputation will be damaged even further. Hopefully, he can finally get over his political clumsiness as he gains responsibility for dealing with issues such as Daesh and other matters of international diplomacy. However, his appointment amongst Conservative membership has been received reasonably and in fairness to him, he has yet to start any wars so it too early to be overly critical of the political anomaly that is Boris.
In other key appointments, Philip Hammond has been upgraded to Chancellor of the Exchequer. This seems to be a safe appointment from Mays’ team. Hammond has held several key cabinet positions including foreign secretary and defence secretary. He has also had a relatively uneventful career without the commonplace theatrics found in the careers of other MPs (Boris.) Unfortunately for Hammond, he probably has the hardest job ahead. If he manages to keep the UK economy out of recession, then he will surely go down as a hero of the Brexit nightmare. What seems forgotten is that the UK was still recovering from the financial crisis of 2008 before the referendum. As a result, the times of austerity may make a swift return to headline news in the future. Again, it is too early to judge the performance of Hammond.
David Davis, another veteran right-winger has been given the task of carrying out Brexit. Although, he has held a multitude of positions over the years, his role as Brexit minister has already ruffled the feathers of university students by refusing to guarantee the future of the Erasmus programme and EU nationals will also have cause for concern as he has not guaranteed their continuing eligibility to live in the UK. Davis, who supported Brexit seems to be making a somewhat shaky start to his new position. Hopefully, in his duty to carry out Brexit, he does not decide to compromise the future of UK and EU relations. Therefore, it may be needed of him to take a slightly softer stance on EU migrants and working relationships with the EU.
Mays’ cabinet is a series of compromises. Davis, Fox, Leadsom and Johnson’s Cabinet appointments should appease even the most ferocious Brexiteers, as was intended. On the other hand, with Theresa May and Philip Hammond at the helm, the Remain side can be hopeful of a suitable Brexit agreement which does not give the UK a reputation as a backwards, isolationist nation.
Image credit: flickr.com/53797600@N04
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