02/03/2021 14:59 GMT | Updated 02/03/2021 16:22 GMT

Michael Ellis Made Attorney General While Suella Braverman Is On Maternity Leave

Decision could mean Boris Johnson faces more pressure to appoint women to his top team.

Press Association
Michael Ellis, attorney general

Michael Ellis has been named attorney general while Suella Braverman is on maternity leave, Downing Street has confirmed. 

Braverman is the first minister to use the Maternity Act 2021, which allows her to take paid leave while she has a baby. 

Northampton North MP Ellis, who moves up from the position of solicitor general, has previously served as transport minister, arts minister and deputy leader of the Commons. 

Lucy Frazer, who was prisons minister, will take up the role of solicitor general and be appointed to the privy council, the government also said. 

A statement from No.10 said: “The prime minister gives the attorney general his very best wishes for her maternity leave and looks forward to welcoming her back in the autumn.” 

Boris Johnson has faced criticism for the decision, however, which sees another man appointed to his top team. 

Braverman’s departure means that of the 26 senior figures attending cabinet, just six are women. It follows the promotion of Johnson's Brexit negotiator Lord Frost last week, also, to a Cabinet Office post. 

Equalities committee chair Caroline Nokes is among the MPs who have called for the PM to appoint more women to his top team. 

The former Tory minister told HuffPost UK: "Yet again we see the proportion of women around the cabinet table go down, that’s twice in just over a week with the appointment of Lord Frost to Cabinet and now Michael Ellis to attorney general.

"It is disappointing but not surprising." 

Press Association
Suella Braverman will return from maternity leave in the autumn

She told The Sun earlier that the Covid pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women and the PM should welcome more female cabinet members.

“When the PM was in hospital, the ‘quad’ [Dominic Raab, Michael Gove, Rishi Sunak and Matt Hancock, who between them took most of the major decisions at the time] was all men,” said Nokes.

“There are real challenges around females not being heard in the decision making process.

“I don’t think they’re being listened to at all – it’s only about men.

“I still don’t get a sense of a real determination to make sure that female voices are not just not just heard, but are understood.

“That’s the real evidence of the government just having dropped the ball on this.”