Suella Braverman has been reappointed home secretary less than a week after plunging Liz Truss’s government into a death spiral.
The successor Rishi Sunak started his first hours as prime minister with a reshuffle of the cabinet and a pledge to fix the “mistakes” made by Truss’s government.
Sunak warned of “difficult decisions” ahead before announcing the return of Braverman and other high profile names including Michael Gove.
Sunak ally Dominic Raab is back in cabinet as deputy prime minister and justice secretary.
Braverman back but it’s a gamble for PM
Jeremy Hunt and James Cleverly keep their jobs as chancellor and foreign secretary respectively. Completing the “Great Offices” of state is Braverman, whose reappointment is seen as Sunak’s attempt to unify the Conservative party by including members of all factions in his cabinet.
However, the quick return of the home secretary is seen as a risk by the Guardian which reports under the headline: “Sunak vows to bring ‘integrity’ to No 10 but gambles by restoring Braverman”.
Labour has criticised Braverman being back at the Cabinet table after being found to have broken the ministerial code for leaking documents to a Conservative MP just six days ago. Braverman – who still harbours ambitions to take over in No 10 – said she resigned from Liz Truss’s government, which said she was sacked.
At the most recent party conference, Braverman caused dismay by stating her “dream” and “obsession” was to see a flight from the UK deporting migrants to Rwanda. Sunak is reported to support the Rwanda policy. The PM has also appointed David TC Davies as Welsh secretary, a role he turned down when Johnson’s government disintegrated in July. Davies has a history of controversial comments on issues including child refugees, same-sex marriage, face veils and climate change. The Welsh secretary was also condemned as a “transphobe” by the Conservative party’s own LGBT group.
Kemi Badenoch keeps her role as trade secretary while Gove returns as levelling up secretary. Ben Wallace remains as defence secretary despite Sunak not pledging to raise defence spending to 3% of GDP. Wallace supported Truss and then Johnson in the Tory leadership races and was considered a potential candidate in both.
Among those leaving the cabinet is Jacob Rees-Mogg who resigned as business secretary. Rees-Mogg returns to the backbenches, his cabinet seat being filled by Grant Shapps, who last week was made Truss’s home secretary.
Truss’s friend and steadfast ally, Therese Coffey has been demoted from deputy PM and health and social care to take over as environment secretary.
Sunak’s leadership rival Penny Mordaunt is reported as having been expecting a promotion. However, Sunak has kept Mordaunt in the mid-ranking role of Leader of the House of Commons.
Labour has criticised the reshuffles saying it is the return of the “same tired old faces” from failed Conservative governments.