Rishi Sunak culled nearly a dozen of Liz Truss’s top-tier ministers on Tuesday after vowing to fix the “mistakes” of her leadership and bracing the nation for “difficult decisions”.
He revived the frontbench careers of Dominic Raab and Suella Braverman who were forced out under Truss but kept Jeremy Hunt as chancellor after the Conservative leader warned the UK is facing a “profound economic crisis” in his first speech since being appointed by the King.
Hunt, brought in by Truss to rescue the economy after her disastrous mini-budget, warned “it is going to be tough” ahead of his Halloween financial statement.
Alister Jack has been re-appointed as secretary of state for Scotland saying he wanted to “sustain and strengthen the Union”.
“We are facing very significant challenges both at home and abroad, and there is much to be done,” he said.
“We need to bring stability to our economy and our public finances, deliver long term prosperity for everyone in our country, and continue to sustain and strengthen the Union.
“We will build on our track record of supporting families and businesses in Scotland, and investing millions directly into Scottish communities.”
The SNP hit out at Rishi Sunak’s new Cabinet, calling it “dangerous”.
Kirsten Oswald, the SNP’s Westminster deputy leader, said: “Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet of Truss re-treads makes the case once again that independence is the only route to escape Westminster chaos for good.
“From a Justice Secretary who doesn’t believe in the Human Rights Act or economic and social rights to a fired then rehired Home Secretary with a twisted dream of deporting vulnerable people.
“A dangerous Cabinet imposed upon Scotland by the new unelected, out-of-touch, law-breaking Prime Minister.
“It’s beyond any doubt that only with the full powers of independence will we be able to escape the Tory chaos, Tory-made economic crisis, and build a fairer, more prosperous society.”
Boris Johnson loyalists who stayed close to Truss, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, were among the 11 ministers who were out of government.
Raab was rewarded with deputy prime minister and justice secretary, roles he held under Johnson before being sacked by Truss for his support of Sunak.
Grant Shapps was demoted to business secretary to allow Braverman’s return as home secretary less than a week after she launched an attack on Truss when she was forced out of the role over a breach of the Ministerial Code.
Penny Mordaunt came out of the reshuffle as Commons leader, failing to win a promotion after she challenged Sunak in the Tory leadership race, which he won without a vote being cast.
Allies of Sunak benefited, with Mel Stride appointed work and pensions secretary and Oliver Dowden becoming chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster having resigned as party chairman after a disastrous double by-election loss under Johnson.
Therese Coffey, one of Truss’s closest friends in Westminster, was demoted from deputy PM and health secretary to become environment secretary.
James Cleverly was kept on as foreign secretary and Ben Wallace as defence secretary, showing Sunak was not entirely breaking with the past two administrations.
Simon Hart was brought in as chief whip to restore party discipline, with Sunak having warned the party: “Unite or die.”
Simon Clarke and Kit Malthouse followed Rees-Mogg out of the Cabinet as close allies of Johnson who stayed close to Truss.
Michael Gove returned to the Cabinet as levelling up secretary after being dramatically sacked by Boris Johnson in July.
More than an hour after Truss defended her economic strategy in her farewell speech from Downing Street on Tuesday morning, Sunak stood outside No 10 criticising her brief tenure.
He said his predecessor, whose 49 days in office made her the shortest-lasting PM in history, was “not wrong” to want to drive up growth, describing it as a “noble aim”.
“But some mistakes were made. Not born of ill will or bad intentions – quite the opposite in fact. But mistakes nonetheless,” he added.
“I’ve been elected as leader of my party and your Prime Minister in part to fix them – and that work begins immediately.”
The cost of Government borrowing dropped and the pound soared to the highest level since before Truss’s disastrous mini-budget.
Sunak, 42, became the UK’s first Hindu PM, the first of Asian heritage and the youngest for more than 200 years when he was appointed by Charles at Buckingham Palace.
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