A Cabinet of all the talents?
26 October 2022
Upon becoming Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak promised to deliver a government of ‘all the talents’, forming a diverse Cabinet of the best possible ministers rather than merely appointing his acolytes.
There is some evidence that Sunak has done this (or at least more so than his predecessors). 57% of the new Cabinet backed Sunak in the most recent leadership election, which compares to 64% of Truss’ first Cabinet who backed her, and 68% of Boris Johnson’s July 2022 Cabinet who backed him in 2019. So while it’s true to say that Sunak’s team is more ideologically diverse, it’s still disproportionately made up of people who backed him for the leadership.
There hasn’t been a huge amount of change, otherwise. The only other point that stands out is the decline of MPs who represent seats I’d categorise as ‘mid or heavy Leave’ – those where more than 56% voted to leave the EU. These MPs make up a majority of the parliamentary Conservative Party, but didn’t make up a majority of the Cabinet even under Johnson or Truss. Part of the reason will no doubt be the relative lack of experience for many of the MPs that represent Leave-backing seats the Tories won since 2017, but the change across Prime Ministers is still significant. In Johnson’s July Cabinet, the figure was 32%, which climbed to 41% in Truss first Cabinet, but has now fallen to just 24% under Sunak.
Arguably the biggest story is the risk (some might say mistake) Sunak has taken in the reappointment of Suella Braverman as Home Secretary, less than a week after she was forced to resign for breaching the Ministerial Code around a security issue. Labour will no doubt seek to make hay out of this appointment and try to cause a headache for the new PM early in his premiership.
With the new Cabinet now complete, Smarkets have launched a market on the first minister to leave. Braverman, naturally, is the favourite.
26 October 2022