UK PM Rishi Sunak to hold first Cabinet meeting with his new team

Sunak on Tuesday began putting his top team in place with key Cabinet appointments and decided to keep the new Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, in place for economic stability and brought back Indian-origin Suella Braverman as Home Secretary.
UK PM Rishi Sunak
UK PM Rishi Sunak

LONDON: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday will hold the first Cabinet meeting with his new team, a day after he became Britain's first Indian-origin premier.

Sunak on Tuesday began putting his top team in place with key Cabinet appointments and decided to keep the new Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, in place for economic stability and brought back Indian-origin Suella Braverman as Home Secretary.

In another move aimed at continuity, James Cleverly will stay in his post as Foreign Secretary despite not being a Sunak loyalist.

Braverman, whose scathing resignation letter precipitated Liz Truss' exit from Downing Street last week, is a fellow Bexiteer like Sunak.

On his first full day as Prime Minister, Sunak will meet his new cabinet on Wednesday before facing opposition leader Keir Starmer in PMQs at midday, the BBC reported.

Sunak has pledged to govern with ''integrity'' and has tried to unite the Conservatives by including people from different wings of the party in his top team.

But the Opposition Labour Party has criticised the decision to reappoint Braverman, popular on the Tory right, as a home secretary just six days after she resigned over data breaches, the report said.

Sunak's first Cabinet meeting will be amid criticism over his reappointment of Braverman as home secretary.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly - who's kept his job under new Prime Minister Sunak - has defended the prime minister's decision to reappoint Braverman to the role of home secretary.

Braverman was forced to resign from the job - in the dying days of Truss's premiership - just last week over two data breaches.

''She said she made a mistake and apologised for that,'' Cleverly told the BBC. He adds that Braverman has promised a crackdown on crime and to secure borders while in the Home Office.

Asked whether Braverman is back in the post as the result of a deal that helped Sunak gain power, Cleverly says Sunak was ''way, way, way ahead'' during the latest Conservative leadership contest, adding: ''I doubt that he needed any particular individuals' endorsement.'' Labour's shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson says Braverman is back in her job as the result of a ''grubby deal'' which helped Sunak ''get over the line and become prime minister''.

Speaking to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Phillipson argues that this calls into question Sunak's pledge to run a government of integrity.

She adds that the discussion ''should be about the future of our country, not the future of the Conservative Party''.

However, Phillipson gives a cautious welcome to the installation of Gillian Keegan as education secretary. Keegan left school at 16 and served an apprenticeship.

Phillipson says that news is ''wonderful'' - but goes on to highlight a ''massive drop-off in apprenticeship starts'' and a ''failure to prioritise skills'' by Conservative-run governments.

Also, it will be a busy first full day in the office for Sunak, who faces his first Prime Minister's Questions.

PMQs is a high-profile weekly event in UK politics, happening every Wednesday at noon when the House of Commons is sitting.

For around half an hour, the prime minister is called to the despatch box in the Commons chamber to answer questions from MPs on any subject.

The leader of the opposition gets to ask six questions - normally the rowdiest part of the spectacle.

The 42-year-old investment banker-turned-politician is the youngest British prime minister in 210 years. He is also Britain's first Hindu Prime Minister.

Sunak's victory in the Tory leadership race came at the end of a dramatic few days in Westminster since Liz Truss resigned last Thursday in the wake of a disastrous tax-cutting mini-budget and several policy U-turns.

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