For the first time in 18 years the UK has an all-Conservative cabinet. The cabinet has seen quite a large reshuffle though a large number of MP’s have held on to their previous positions or have remained in the cabinet with different roles. Teresa May, George Osborne, Ian Duncan Smith, Nicky Morgan and Baroness Stowell, to name a few, remain in their positions of Home Secretary, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Work and Pensions Secretary, Education Minister and Leader of the House of Lords respectively.
New faces in this Conservative cabinet include: Amber Rudd as Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Robert Halfon as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, Justine Greening as Secretary of State for International Development, and Greg Hands as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. One interesting appointment is John Whittingdale to the Secretary of Culture who formerly had ties to the Thatcher government as a political secretary. He takes over from Sajid Javid who is a significant member of the cabinet as the only member to be part of an ethnic minority as he holds strong Pakistani heritage.
One, perhaps controversial, appointment is the largely unpopular figure of Michael Gove holding the position of Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. This appointment in particular may be a little worrying to some because he condemned the abolition of hanging which, even when it was said seventeen years ago, was a somewhat controversial and outdated view to hold considering the last hanging in the UK took place in 1964. Also worth noting is that although Boris Johnson does not hold a permanent ministerial role in the cabinet, he will attend separate political cabinet meetings. This is perhaps so Johnson can concentrate on Mayoral duties in his final year.
Many may voice concerns that the cabinet is not fully representative of the UK’s demographic as only a third of the cabinet are female while there is only the single previously mentioned member from an ethnic minority. However, there is much debate over whether the cabinet is the right place to have a fair representation of this country’s demographic. With the unenviable state that the country is currently in, many would sacrifice what some may see as fairness in the interest of having a cabinet with experienced heads and promising newcomers which this cabinet seems to strike a balance with.
In his first meeting with the new cabinet Cameron has declared that they are the party of the working people. Whether this is just a statement to appease the critics who see the Conservatives as targeting the poor and disadvantaged, or as a genuine focus on helping the working class of Britain will be judged at the end of the five years. However, this is apt considering the emergence of anti-Conservative protests taking place in London and even by the students of our own University who, last Monday, had voiced concerns in a rally that the Conservatives do not represent the working class people.