Taking office on Wednesday, Britain’s new prime minister Boris Johnson has culled Theresa May’s Cabinet and begun appointing his own inner circle. So, who has made the cut for the top jobs?
First up is Sajid Javid, who moves from the Home Secretary’s office to Chancellor of the Exchequer. The second-most powerful position in the British government, the chancellor sets the government budget and acts as a high-level representative for the prime minister. What can we expect from the new chancellor?
Javid is a self-made millionaire the son of Pakistani immigrants. But Javid’s fervent capitalism fits well with Johnson’s evolving pro-capitalist message. Javid has earned positive coverage for his Home Office management. But with Johnson issuing expensive policy pledges, Javid will face a challenge in maintaining fiscal restraint — and thus retaining confidence from the financial sector.
Then, there’s Priti Patel. A former Cabinet minister known for her conservative credentials, Patel replaces Javid at the Home Office. That puts her in charge of Britain’s domestic security management, especially in relation to counterterrorism operations. It’s a challenging job known for making and breaking careers. Notably, her Twitter background features Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.
Dominic Raab comes next as foreign secretary. A former Brexit secretary who resigned in protest over Theresa May’s negotiating strategy, Raab now replaces Johnson’s defeated leadership challenger, Jeremy Hunt. Raab’s responsibility will be in consolidating British allies around Johnson’s effort to renegotiate a Brexit withdrawal agreement with the European Union. Expect frequent visits by Raab to Washington as the British government attempts to secure a post-Brexit trade deal.
The new defense secretary is Ben Wallace. Replacing a talented politician in the form of Penny Mordant, Wallace is a former army officer. He is expected to push for new spending to improve Britain’s war-fighting capability.
All in all, this is the beginning of a Cabinet that is more obviously right-wing than its predecessor. That will cheer conservatives but worry moderate Conservative Party members over fears of alienating independent voters.