10 Downing Street

May’s New Government – Who’s In?

Contrary to many of the headlines – this is not a reshuffle! Here’s Grayling’s rundown of who’s who in Mrs May’s new Cabinet at Westminster and what their significance is for Scottish politics.

Philip Hammond

Then – Home SecretaryPhilip_Hammond
Now – Chancellor of the Exchequer

Mr Hammond previously served as Defence and Transport Secretaries. He was seen as a Eurosceptic who spoke of withdrawal if the EU was not reformed, but campaigned to remain during the referendum. On his first day in job he will be meeting the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney and other experts “to take stock”.

The new Chancellor has ruled out an emergency Budget. Despite the devolution of further tax-raising powers in the Scotland Act 2015, Hammond will control the major economic levers. His early indication that he intends to review the pace of austerity will be welcomed north of the border.

Amber Rudd

Then – Energy and Climate Change Amber_Rudd_MPSecretary
Now – Home Secretary

Her appointment to Home Secretary just six years after becoming an MP marks a meteoric rise to a role typically reserved for politicians who have served in a number of ministerial roles. The MP for Hastings and Rye was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the former Chancellor George Osborne for a year before joining the whip’s office. A pro-EU campaigner, she fills the vacancy left by Mrs May. Ms Rudd will now lead reform of Britain’s immigration system in the wake of the Brexit vote.

As immigration is not a devolved area, Ms Rudd will now be the target for the Scottish Government and Scottish Affairs Committee over issues like the reinstatement of the Post-Study Work Visa and for the SNP’s campaign to allow the Brain family to remain in Scotland.

Boris Johnson

Then – Mayor of LondonBoris_Johnson
Now – Foreign Secretary

Once considered a front-runner to succeed David Cameron. He fuelled this speculation when he came out as a Brexit supporter in February after rejecting the results of Cameron’s EU renegotiation, and quickly became the de facto leader of the vote to leave the EU.

Mr Johnson succeeds Philip Hammond at the Foreign Office, he is one of the UK’s best known politicians, but many will be surprised by this appointment. It is definitely a big step up from his previous role.

Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson, recently publicly called Mr Johnson a liar over his comments during the EU Referendum debate. The Scottish Parliament as a whole is unlikely to be thrilled at the prospect of Mr Johnson representing Scotland abroad.

David Davis

New position – Secretary of State for Exiting the European UnionDavid-Davis

A veteran Eurosceptic, he has previously held the positions of Conservative party chairman and shadow deputy prime minister. Between 2003 and 2008, he was the Shadow Home Secretary. Mr Davis lost to David Cameron in the 2005 Tory leadership contest.

Details about the new Brexit department are still emerging, but he is likely to take the lead in negotiating Britain’s departure from the EU and unpicking the thousands of pages of EU rules written into UK law.

Mr Davis’ success in negotiating an attractive package will have a significant bearing on the likelihood of a second independence referendum in Scotland.

Liam Fox

Then – Defence Secretary, resigned in 2011Liam-fox
Now –  Secretary of State for International Trade

He was a fairly prominent member of the Brexit campaign. During his long parliamentary career, he served as a Minister under John Major and in the Shadow Cabinets of William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Howard and David Cameron, against whom he ran for the leadership in 2005.

Until the UK has actually left the EU, Mr Fox cannot formally negotiate any trade deals without the EU’s consent. Therefore the significance of his appointment for Scotland will depend on the Brexit deal.

Michael Fallon

Remains as Defence SecretaryMichael_fallon

An early backer of Mrs May for the Conservative leadership, remained as Defence Secretary. Under David Cameron, Mr Fallon has been Business Minister, Energy Minister and then Defence Secretary.

Seen as a steady hand in Government, Mr Fallon supported Remain during the EU referendum campaign. He was one of a small number of Conservatives who tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade Margaret Thatcher not to resign as Prime Minister.

Defence is not a devolved area.

David Mundell

Remains as Secretary for State for Scotlanddavid_mundell

As the only Conservative MP in Scotland, it was no surprise that Mr Mundell has retained his position as Scottish Secretary in Mrs May’s Cabinet. Mr Mundell will  provide continuity in the strained relationship between the UK and Scottish Governments and will play an important role in negotiations over the fallout from Brexit.

Will the UK Government chose to devolve more powers or allow for a move towards a more federal structure to keep Scotland in the Union?

Jeremy Hunt

Remains Health Secretaryjeremy-hunt

Perhaps the boldest move that Theresa May made with her appointments was holding on to Hunt. Despite initial rumours he was being sacked from the Cabinet, he later emerged from No 10 smiling and remaining Health Secretary. Shortly after his reappointment Hunt tweeted ‘Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated…, Thrilled to be back in the best job in Government.’ It has been reported that Former Work and Pensions Secretary, Stephen Crabb was offered the role of Health Secretary but he has resigned from the Cabinet all together.

Hunt has had almost 4 years in this post and it is safe to say his major priority will be to resolve the ongoing junior doctor dispute.

Liz Truss

Then –  Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural AffairsElizabeth-Truss
Now – Justice Secretary

Ms Truss becomes the first female Justice Secretary in the thousand-year history of the role. She is inheriting a legal and prison system in a state of flux, this will be a challenging role. She was elected as MP for South West Norfolk in the 2010 election and this morning replaces Michael Gove.

As justice is a devolved area and Scotland has its own separate Prison Service, Ms Truss will have little to do with Scottish affairs.

Justine Greening

Then – International Development SecretaryJustine-Greening
Now – Education Secretary

She becomes the first Education Secretary to have been fully educated at a comprehensive non-selective school and is one of few women at the top of the Conservative party with five years of cabinet experience. As well as being responsible for schools, colleges and universities will now also form part of her brief as the BIS department has been reformed. Greening will inherit a higher education bill, which could raise tuition fees in England, with a second reading due next week.

Sajid Javid

Then – Business Innovation and Skills Secretary
Now – Communities Secretary

Javid has a reputation as a “true Thatcherite” and became known in Whitehall for being one of the first Secretaries of State to offer up huge cuts to his own department at the Spending Review. Will he bring this attitude to the Communities brief?

Regardless, the majority of the responsibilities of the department are devolved matters, including responsibility for housing supply, and so Javid will not have a great impact in Scotland.

Greg Clark

Then – Communities SecretaryGreg_Clark
Now – Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary

At the opposite end of the Tory spectrum is Clark who is considered to be more to the left of the party. At the department newly formed from the ashes of BIS and DECC, Clark will have a very big brief. He will have responsibility for implementing May’s headline grabbing policy of putting workers on company boards and carrying the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ torch.

Chris Grayling

Then – Leader of the House of Commonschris-grayling

Now – Transport Secretary

He was the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice from 2012 to 2015 and was Leader of the House of Commons and the Lord President of the Council between 2015 and 2016. Many were expecting him to be given a more high profile role after managing Mrs May’s leadership bid.

He will oversee the expansion of Heathrow and the future of the HS2 rail line in his new role which will be of interest to Scottish stakeholders. Mr Grayling has some familiarity with his new brief, having been the Conservatives’ shadow secretary of state for transport from 2005 to 2007 while Labour was in government.

Damian Green

Now – Work and Pensions Secretarydamian_green

The MP for Ashford has served as an Immigration Minister and Justice Secretary in the coalition government but has been on the backbenches since 2014. His sacking in the 2014 cabinet reshuffle was met with some surprise as he was considered to be highly regarded by colleagues.

Mr Green will be the third Work and Pensions Secretary this year, after Iain Duncan Smith and Stephen Crabb. It has already been pointed out by opposition parties that Mr Green was opposed to the introduction of the minimum wage.

Mr Green will oversee the transfer of some welfare powers to Scotland, including the ability to make changes to Universal Credit, Disability Allowance and Discretionary Housing Payments.

Andrea Leadsom

Then – Minister for EnergyAndrea-Leadsom

Now – Environment Secretary

The pro-Brexit campaigner and MP for South Northamptonshire dropped out of the Conservative leadership contest earlier this week. Her promotion from Energy Secretary is seen as a reward after challenging Mrs May for Prime Minister.

It has been confirmed that all of the energy and climate change ministry’s responsibilities have been rolled into the new BEIS with “immediate effect”, rather than returning these responsibilities to Defra.

Karen Bradley

Then – Minister for Preventing Abuse, Exploitation and Crimekaren_bradley
Now – Culture, Media and Sport Secretary

Ms Bradley previously worked under May at the Home Office. She has proved herself a safe pair of hands and has been rewarded with a promotion. However, her background in Financial Services at Deloitte and KPMG make her an unexpected choice for Culture Secretary.

Ms Bradley will have responsibility over Press Standards and Broadcasting including the Government’s review of the BBC.

Priti Patel

Then – Minister for State for EmploymentPriti_Patel
Now – International Development Secretary for State

Patel previously served at the DWP under Iain Duncan Smith. She is a member of the right wing of the party and was a prominent campaigner for Leave. In the past she had advocated for the abolition of the department she will now head up – stating that it should be replaced with a Department for International Trade and Development. Given that International Trade will now be a separate department under Liam Fox, what will Patel’s vision for DIFD be?

Patrick McLoughlin

Then – Transport SecretaryPatrick_McLoughlin
Now – Cabinet Office and Party Chairman

A long-time friend of May, McLoughlin replaces Letwin as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and assumes control of the Cabinet Office. However, the previously announced Brexit unit will now be a separate department under David Davis.

Gavin Williamson

Then- Parliamentary Private SecretaryGavin-williamson

Now- Chief Whip

He has been an MP since 2010 and was previously Parliamentary Private Secretary to Patrick McLoughlin’s and more recently David Cameron. The relatively unknown politician was state-educated before studying for a BSc in social sciences at the University of Bradford. He was appointed to the Privy Council last year and is said to be ‘very privileged’ and ‘very surprised’ at being handed the role of Chief Whip.

David Lidington

Then- Minister for Europedavid-lidington

Now- Leader of the Commons

Mr Lidington spearheaded Mr Cameron’s failed campaign to keep Britain in the EU has been promoted. He was recently in Edinburgh for talks with his then Scottish Government counterpart Fiona Hyslop. Asked if there was a way Scotland could remain in the EU, Mr Lidington said: “The legal position is very clear, we have to leave the EU.”

Alun Cairns

Remains Welsh Secretaryalun-cairns

He replaced Stephen Crabb in March this year and will remain as Welsh Secretary. The MP for Vale of Glamorgan said his priority was Tata Steel as workers at its Port Talbot steel works face an uncertain future with the company holding joint venture talks.

Given his remit is dealing with the Welsh Assembly Cairns will not have any dealings with Scotland directly, however, like Mundell he is likely to have some involvement in ensuring the Brexit package works for the whole of the UK.

James Brokenshire

Then- Immigration MinisterJames-Brokenshire1

Now- Northern Ireland Secretary

Mr Brokenshire said one of his key priorities was to continue with the full implementation of the Stormont House and Fresh Start agreements
He also said Northern Ireland’s interests would need to be protected during the process of the UK leaving the EU, including in relation to the Irish border.

Brokenshire worked closely with the new PM, supporting her during her role as Home Secretary, overseeing of the work of M15 and the national police counter-terrorism network.

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