PM Boris Johnson says it’s the “beginning of a new golden age”
As he made his first Commons statement as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has promised the “beginning of a new golden age”.
The statement came after the first meeting of Mr Johnson’s new cabinet, who he said had all committed to leaving the EU on or before 31st October, “no ifs, no buts”.
Speaking to MPs, Mr Johnson said his government would throw itself into Brexit negotiations with energy.
He said Michael Gove would make planning for a no-deal Brexit a “top priority”, and EU citizens living in the UK would have their rights protected.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also written to Mr Johnson to say it is “essential” her country has an alternative option to his Brexit plan.
More than half of Theresa May’s old cabinet, including leadership rival Jeremy Hunt, quit or were sacked by Mr Johnson. A total of 18 cabinet ministers have been removed – several more than during other recent reshuffles after a new prime minister has come into power without an election.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson: So, who’s in his cabinet?
More than half of Theresa May’s old cabinet, including leadership rival Jeremy Hunt, quit or were sacked by Mr Johnson. A total of 18 cabinet ministers have been removed – several more than during other recent reshuffles after a new prime minister has come into power without an election. Here’s what the new cabinet looks like.
Prime Minister – Boris Johnson: Boris Johnson’s popularity among Conservative MPs and members of the wider Tory party membership landed him the top job he has long coveted. The former mayor of London has previously held only one cabinet position, foreign secretary, under Theresa May. But Mr Johnson, a leading Brexiteer, was at odds with Mrs May’s Brexit vision and eventually quit the role in protest last year. Critics of the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip say he is divisive, and unprincipled. He was dogged by stories about his private life during the leadership race. The Eton and Oxford-educated former political journalist says the UK will leave the EU on 31 October, “deal or no deal”.
Chancellor – Sajid Javid: Sajid Javid was previously home secretary under Theresa May.He backed Remain in the 2016 EU referendum, but with a “heavy heart and no enthusiasm”. He has never hidden his Euroscepticism. Born in Rochdale, Mr Javid is a second-generation migrant whose parents came from Pakistan.He says his bus driver father arrived with only £1 to his name. A former protégé of former chancellor George Osborne at the Treasury, he was a successful investment banker before he was elected as an MP for Bromsgrove in 2010.
Home Secretary – Prity Patel: Former international development secretary, Priti Patel, 47, is an ardent Brexiteer, who has supported Boris Johnson in the leadership contest, describing him as the only person who can save Brexit and the Tories. She has argued that it would be in the EU’s best interests to reopen negotiations, as a way of securing any of the £39bn so-called divorce bill. Ms Patel resigned from the cabinet In November 2017 following a row over unauthorised meetings with Israeli politicians. Her departure followed hot on the heels of Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, plunging Theresa May’s cabinet into turmoil. She was first elected to the seat of Witham, Essex, in 2010, after working for several years in PR for the Conservative Party, as well as lobbying for tobacco and alcohol industries.
Foreign Secretary – Dominic Raab: As well as being made foreign secretary, Dominic Raab has been appointed the first secretary of state. The staunch Brexiteer, who has been tipped for high office since his election as an MP for Esher and Walton in 2010, has insisted that Brexit must happen on 31 October whether there is a deal or not. The former lawyer was appointed as a justice minister in 2015, but was sacked by Theresa May when she became prime minister the following year. After David Davis’s resignation as Brexit secretary in July 2018, Mr Raab was appointed as his successor. He quit only months later in opposition to Theresa May’s Brexit deal, which he said he couldn’t “in good conscience” support. Mr Raab started his career as an international lawyer, before joining the Foreign Office as a diplomat.
Brexit Secretary – Stephen Barclay: The 47-year old became the third Brexit Secretary in less than six months when he was appointed to the role last November. It was a big promotion for him, although the job itself had been somewhat downgraded, with Mr Barclay being responsible since then for Brexit preparations rather than negotiating with the EU. The MP for North East Cambridgeshire, who voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum, supported Boris Johnson in the Tory leadership contest. Mr Barclay, whose father was a trade union official and mother a civil servant, grew up in Lancashire and was a keen rugby league player in his youth. After studying at Cambridge University, he trained as a solicitor and worked in the City of London for nearly 15 years, including at Barclays Bank (no relation). The father-of-two stood unsuccessfully for Parliament twice before being elected in 2010, having made it onto the A-list of candidates drawn up under David Cameron.
Party Chairman – James Cleverly: The MP for Braintree in Essex is widely regarded as one of the party’s rising stars. The 49-year-old has been tipped for high office for some time, having served as Conservative deputy chairman for 18 months and, since April, as a junior Brexit minister. The former soldier, who rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Royal Artillery, is one of the party’s most effective media performers. Despite supporting Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement until the bitter end, he is popular with Brexiteers and is close to Boris Johnson, having served in the London Assembly while he was mayor. The father-of-two launched his own bid for the Conservative leadership but pulled out early on after acknowledging his party was not ready for a prime minister from the next generation.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – Michale Gove: Michael Gove was knocked out of the leadership race during the MPs’ ballots, but as one of the main campaigners for the Vote Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum he was always expected to make it back into the cabinet. During the leadership campaign he was forced to address questions surrounding cocaine use. He said it had been a mistake and he deeply regretted taking it at social events 20 years ago, while working as a journalist. The MP for Surrey Heath, since 2005, was a key ally of former Prime Minister David Cameron. He made his name as a radical education secretary, bringing in major changes to exams and the curriculum and battling teaching unions during his four years in the role. In 2016, he famously scuppered the leadership hopes of his friend and fellow Brexiteer Boris Johnson, by announcing his own candidature on the morning Mr Johnson was due to launch his campaign. Mr Gove became environment secretary in June 2017 and proved a key advocate of Mrs May’s Brexit deal.
Defence Secretary – Ben Wallace: Former security minister Ben Wallace, who campaigned to remain in the EU, has warned that a no-deal Brexit would hit UK-EU security ties and have a “real impact” on protecting the public. Mr Wallace trained at Sandhurst before joining the Scots Guards as a platoon commander. During his eight-year spell in the Army, he served in Northern Ireland, Germany, Cyprus and Central America. He was a member of the Scottish Parliament, before winning his seat of Lancaster and Wyre in 2005.
International Trade Secretary – Elizabeth Truss: Liz Truss was a vocal supporter of Boris Johnson for the leadership and backed his stance of keeping no deal on the table in the run up to any Brexit negotiations. She was second-in-command at the Treasury in the last cabinet and had previously served as Environment Secretary and was the first female Lord Chancellor between 2016 and 2017. Ms Truss was elected to Parliament in 2010 after serving as deputy director of think tank Reform. In a widely-publicised speech in June 2018, Ms Truss attacked her cabinet colleagues for demanding more money, as she said that would only lead to higher taxation. She said it was important to keep taxes low and demand better value for money instead.
Health & Social Care Secretary – Matt Hancock: The youngest contender in the Tory leadership race, Matt Hancock, 40, quit the contest a day after he came sixth in the first ballot of the party’s MPs. He later endorsed Boris Johnson as his preferred candidate. The ambitious MP for West Suffolk was promoted to health secretary after only a few months as culture secretary, when Jeremy Hunt became foreign secretary after Boris Johnson’s resignation. He campaigned for Remain in the EU referendum, but has since backed Theresa May’s Brexit plan. The former Bank of England economist likes to see himself as one of the most technology-savvy politicians at Westminster and was the first MP to have his own smartphone app.
Environment Secretary – Theresa Villiers: Former Northern Ireland secretary, Theresa Villiers, has backed Boris Johnson from the start, saying he would offer people “some hope and excitement about what politics can deliver for them”. Elected in 2005 as MP for Chipping Barnet, she has also served as transport minister and shadow chief secretary to the Treasury. She has previously said she supports the ban on hunting with dogs but thinks the Hunting Act could be improved. Prior to being elected an MP, she served as an MEP from 1999. She has spoken out against the backstop plan and said she would be prepared to back a no-deal Brexit.
Education Secretary – Gavin Williamson: The former defence secretary was sacked by Theresa May in May after a row over the leaking of information from the National Security Council. The 43-year old insisted that neither he nor any of his aides had briefed the newspapers about confidential discussions over the role of Chinese firm Huawei in a vital broadband contract. But Mrs May said she had lost confidence in him in light of “compelling evidence” suggesting he was responsible for the “unauthorised disclosure”. Despite this setback, Mr Williamson remains a key power broker within the party, having served as a ministerial aide to David Cameron and then as chief whip, in charge of party discipline. At that time, he famously kept a tarantula named Cronus on his desk in the House of Commons. Mr Williamson, who backed remain in the EU referendum, helped run Boris Johnson’s campaign in the first phase of the Tory leadership contest.
Culture Secretary – Nicky Morgan: As a former chair of the Commons Treasury select committee, Nicky Morgan is one of the most powerful and influential female politicians in Parliament and has become a key figure in attempts to forge a compromise with Tory Brexiteers. She was seen as a protégé of ex-Chancellor George Osborne, who Mrs May also dismissed, having risen through the ranks as a Treasury minister before becoming education secretary in 2014. After losing her cabinet post, she fell out spectacularly with Mrs May during a row in which she criticised the cost of a pair of leather trousers worn by the prime minister. The 46-year old former solicitor and keen marathon runner was, for many years, seen as being a flag-bearer for the ultra-soft Brexit wing of her party.
Business Secretary – Andrea Leadsom: One of Conservatives’ most prominent female politicians and an ardent Brexiteer, Andrea Leadsom has twice contested the party’s leadership. In 2016, the MP for South Northamptonshire unexpectedly made the final two alongside Theresa May but pulled out of the contest following an interview in which she suggested that being a mother made her a better candidate. She has two children. In this year’s contest, she was eliminated in the first round. She served in cabinet as environment secretary from 2016-17 and then as leader of the House of Commons. Latterly, she played a crucial role in responding to allegations of bullying and sexual harassment in Parliament and setting up an independent grievance and complaints procedure for staff. The 56-year old, who worked in investment banking for more than 20 years before entering Parliament in 2010, backed Leave in the EU referendum. She quit the cabinet in May in protest at the former PM’s doomed attempts to get her Brexit deal through Parliament.
Housing & Communities Secretary – Robert Jenrick: Former treasury minister Robert Jenrick joined other rising stars Rishi Sunak and Oliver Dowden in saying Boris Johnson was the only one who could save the Tory party from an “existential threat”. He drew criticism in 2017 when, as chair of the all-party parliamentary group on international trade, he attended US President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Mr Jenrick was elected as MP for Newark in a by-election in June 2014 after Patrick Mercer resigned in disgrace, and won the seat with an increased majority at the general election of 2015. He voted Remain in the EU referendum.
Work & Pensions, Women & Equalities – Amber Rudd: Amber Rudd ruled herself out of the running for Tory leader, because she said the party wanted a Brexiteer as PM. But after previously warning strongly against a no-deal Brexit, she admitted she had changed her mind and now accepted that it was an important part of the leverage to get a deal with the EU. Ms Rudd, who backed Mr Hunt for the leadership, said she was still concerned about the economic impact of no deal, but added: “I am no longer saying that I will lie down in front of the bulldozers if it arrives.” She resigned as home secretary in April 2018 over her handling of the Windrush controversy, amid a row over targets to remove illegal immigrants, but returned to cabinet seven months later to take up the post at work and pensions. She has served as MP for Hastings and Rye since 2010, but saw her majority reduced to just 346 in the 2017 election.
Justice Secretary – Robert Buckland: The former solicitor general moved to be prisons minister in the justice department in May 2019. He supported Boris Johnson for the leadership describing him as a “moderate, open-minded, one-nation Conservative” and claiming he is “what we need now”. Mr Buckland campaigned to remain in the EU, but said it was important to deliver on the result of the referendum. He has, however, previously spoken out against a no-deal Brexit and the need for compromise. He was elected MP for South Swindon at the second attempt in 2010, overturning a Labour majority, and has subsequently held the seat with an increased share of the vote. He had previously practised as a lawyer specialising in criminal law and planning.
International Development Secretary – Alok Sharma: The former employment minister and MP for Reading West backed Boris Johnson for prime minister. He said he believed Mr Johnson was the only candidate who could deliver on Brexit, a domestic policy agenda and win a general election against Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn. Prior to being elected in 2010, he qualified as a chartered accountant and worked in banking. Although he campaigned to remain in the EU, he has since said he would be prepared to leave with no deal if it proved impossible to negotiate a new one before 31 October.
Transport Secretary – Grant Shapps: Former international development minister, Grant Shapps, was once seen as a high-flyer in the Tory party until he resigned following allegations he ignored warnings about bullying when he was party co-chairman. He is regarded as having a different background to many of his Tory peers. He was born in Watford and educated at a local grammar school, before going on to Manchester Polytechnic to study business and finance. He later set up his own successful printing business. A former remainer, he has since said he is backing Brexit “as hard as you like”. Mr Shapps, a father-of-three, was elected MP for Welwyn Hatfield in Hertfordshire in 2005.
Welsh Secretary – Alun Cairns: MP for the Vale of Glamorgan, Alun Cairns served as secretary of state for Wales in Theresa May’s cabinet. The former banker and Welsh assembly member was born in Swansea and is a graduate of the University of Wales, Newport. He became an MP in 2010. He supported Boris Johnson for the leadership, saying he was the best person to drive a “bold and ambitious plan” with Brussels. But he has said the UK must be prepared to leave without a deal. He served in the Welsh Assembly from 1999.
Scottish Secretary – Alister Jack: Businessman Alister Jack was elected MP for Dumfries and Galloway in 2017 and has supported what he calls “a successful Brexit for Scotland”. He founded tent-hire and self-storage companies and is also a dairy farmer. His constituency includes the busiest ferry-port serving Northern Ireland and he has said he would be keen to see an end date to the backstop proposal. He was appointed assistant government whip in February 2019.
Northern Ireland Secretary – Julian Smith: Julian Smith has served in the whips’ office, rising to be chief whip from November 2017. Before entering Parliament, he had a successful career as an entrepreneur, setting up an executive recruiting firm with bases in London and Singapore. In a BBC documentary, Mr Smith accused ministers in Theresa May’s cabinet of trying to undermine the prime minister. He said it should have been clear that after the 2017 election, that the UK would “inevitably” have to accept a closer relationship with the EU after Brexit. He was first elected as MP for Skipton and Ripon in 2010.
Leader of the Lords – Baroness Evans: Baroness Evans was appointed Lords Leader in 2016, her first ministerial role since being ennobled by David Cameron in 2014. She attended London’s Henrietta Barnett School and Cambridge University, where she studied social and political sciences. She went on to become deputy director of the Conservative research department. She was previously deputy director of the centre-right Policy Exchange think-tank. She was also director of the New Schools Network, the organisation, set up by journalist Toby Young, which runs the free schools programme.