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UK Prime Minister Liz Truss appoints new Cabinet

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - Liz Truss delivers her first speech as British Prime Minister outside 10 Downing Street in London, United Kingdom on September 06, 2022. (Wiktor Szymanowicz - Anadolu Agency)
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Sep 07, 2022 - 04:10 AM

LONDON (AA) – British Prime Minister Liz Truss appointed her Cabinet on Tuesday.

Truss appointed former work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey, as new health secretary and deputy prime minister.

They are known to have been close friends for a long time and rose through the political ranks together.

Kwasi Kwarteng was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer. He is the former business and energy secretary.

James Cleverly was appointed foreign secretary. He was education secretary for a short period and before that a minister in the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office.

Suella Braveman was appointed home secretary. She is the former attorney general.

The four great offices of the British state are prime minister, chancellor, foreign secretary and home secretary. And for the first time in British history, none are held by white men.

Also, for the first time, the three offices of state, excluding the premiership, are held by ethnic minorities.

Truss is the third female prime minister, with all hailing from the ruling center-right Conservative Party.

In a separate vein, Johnny Mercer was sacked as the veteran’s minister. He posted a letter to social media bemoaning that fact and accusing Truss of wanting to give his job to a supporter. Mercer’s wife called Truss an “imbecile” in a tweet with a photo of a muppet attached.

Elsewhere, Truss appointed former leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt as leader of the House of Commons, and Lord True as leader of the House of Lords.

Ben Wallace remains defense chief.

Former leadership candidate Tom Tugendhat will attend the Cabinet as security minister in the Home Office.

Jacob Rees-Mogg was appointed business and energy secretary. A prominent Boris Johnson loyalist, he was previously minister for Brexit opportunities and government efficiency.

Simon Clarke was appointed leveling up, housing and communities secretary. He was previously chief secretary to the Treasury, who is the second-in-command to the chancellor.

Kemi Badenoch was appointed International Trade Secretary. She is a darling of the right-wing of the Conservative Party membership for her hardline conservative views on culture wars.

Jake Berry was appointed minister without portfolio and Conservative Party chairman. He is a prominent Conservative MP from the north of England, which switched from Labour to the Conservatives in the last election and has been the focus of political attention ever since.

Wendy Morton was appointed chief whip; Brandon Lewis appointed Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary; Nadhim Zahawi appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, minister for intergovernmental relations and minister for equalities; Chloe Smith appointed Work and Pensions Secretary; Chris Philp to chief secretary to the Treasury; Kit Malthouse was appointed as Education Secretary; Ranil Jayawardena was appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Anne-Marie Trevelyan to Transport Secretary; Michelle Donelan was appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport; Chris Heaton-Harris was appointed Northern Ireland Secretary and Michael Ellis was appointed Attorney General.

Robert Buckland was re-appointed as Welsh Secretary and Alister Jack was re-appointed Scottish Secretary.

Notable from Truss’ appointments is the absence of any high-profile supporters of her leadership rival Rishi Sunak, let alone the man. Sunak was one of the final two candidates alongside Truss.

The Conservative Party is bitterly divided on several issues, not least the proper economic policy to pursue amid a deteriorating national economic outlook, yet Truss has prioritized loyalty over party unity.

Ukraine and US phone calls

Truss’ first telephone call was with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“I became the first foreign leader to have a conversation with the newly elected British PM (Liz Truss). Invited her to Ukraine,” Zelenskyy tweeted. “Thanked British people for the major defence and economic aid for Ukraine. It’s important that Britain is ready to further strengthen it. Attention was paid to security guarantees.

“We discussed the participation of Britain in the recovery of Ukraine. Coordinated further pressure on the Russian Federation. The goal is to stop the aggression and bring the perpetrators to justice. It’s important to designate the Russian Federation a terrorist state. We’ll continue active interaction in all formats.”

Truss tweeted later: “I spoke to President (Zelenskyy) this evening and reiterated our steadfast support for Ukraine’s freedom and democracy. Russia’s attempts to weaponise energy must not deter the West. Ukraine can depend on the UK for support in the long term.”

Truss also spoke with US President Joe Biden.

A Downing Street statement said Biden congratulated Truss and Truss looked forward to working with Biden as “leaders of free democracies to tackle shared challenges, particularly the extreme economic problems unleashed by Putin’s war.”

Both sides reflected on the “enduring strength” of the special relationship and agreed that the US-UK partnership “fortified by our shared values, has been crucial for defending and advancing freedom and democracy in the world.”

Both leaders reinforced their commitment to “strengthening global liberty, tackling the risks posed by autocracies and ensuring Putin fails in Ukraine”.​​​​​​​

They also agreed on the importance of protecting the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and looked forward to meeting again soon.

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