Who Are The Main Casualties Of The Liz Truss Cabinet?

Supporters of Rishi Sunak have largely been banished to the backbenches.
Shapps, Raab and Patel have all left government
Shapps, Raab and Patel have all left government
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Liz Truss has almost finished assembling her Cabinet as she prepares to take on the role of prime minister at one of the toughest times in British politics.

Like her predecessor, Boris Johnson, she has been keen to reward friends and supporters of her leadership campaign with top Cabinet posts.

Longstanding ally Kwasi Kwarteng is in as chancellor, while fellow karoke-lover and friend Therese Coffey is in as health secretary.

Unsurprisingly —but perhaps dangerously — colleagues who supported Rishi Sunak’s bid to be prime minister have been banished from Cabinet to reside on the backbenches.

The only Sunak-backer who appears to have survived the cull is Michael Ellis, the attorney general who was wheeled out to defend Boris Johnson at the height of the partygate scandal. Even then, he will only attend Cabinet and is not a Cabinet minister.

While rewarding supporters might seem like the logical thing to do, many a prime minister has been caught out by critics vocally opposing government policy from the luxurious freedom of the backbenches.

HuffPost UK takes you through the main characters who have not made the cut — and what damage they could do from the backbenches.

Rishi Sunak

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Truss’s nemesis indicated that he would not serve in a Truss Cabinet and will revert to simply being the MP for Richmond, Yorkshire.

Sunak was quick to use his former role as chancellor to his advantage during the leadership campaign, painting a contrasting image of himself as the responsible guardian of the country’s finances to a more maverick Truss.

Sunak also refused to say during the leadership campaign whether he would vote for Truss’s economic plans if she became PM — could he be the figurehead of any rebellion against Truss’s tax cuts?

Dominic Raab

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It comes as no surprise that the former justice secretary finds himself out in the cold after he branded Truss’s tax cutting plans an “electoral suicide note”.

In an article for the Times, Raab, who backed Sunak for PM, said the Tories would be “cast into the impotent oblivion of opposition” under Truss’s approach.

It looks like the same could apply to him.

Sajid Javid

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The long-standing Cabinet survivor, who threw his weight behind Truss in the leadership campaign, was rumoured to have turned down the role of Northern Ireland secretary.

Aside from the Pandora’s box of problems that the role opens up, after having served as chancellor, home secretary and health secretary, the role may have felt too junior for someone of his experience.

Javid has proven loyal and discreet when in Cabinet — but he will be remembered for his decision to resign and the ensuing excoriating speech against Boris Johnson that followed.

Priti Patel

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The combative Patel resigned before being pushed. She did not endorse any candidate during the leadership race and finds herself on the backbenches.

However, she is unlikely to nod along from the back. In her last appearance as home secretary earlier this week, she fiercely defended her Rwanda migrant policy and even told MPs to “shut up” when they interrupted her speech paying tribute to Johnson.

The Times reported that Patel reacted with “fury” when the official twitter account for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office — Truss’s previous department — “liked” a tweet from Labour MP Zarah Sultana celebrating Patel’s departure.

A close ally told the newspaper: “The FCDO has fought at every turn to overturn the Rwanda policy. Priti has stood up for the hard-working majority on illegal migration, detention and the removal of people with no legal basis to be in our country.”

Don’t expect Patel to keep quiet regarding this central plank of her legacy as home secretary.

Steve Barclay

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Barclay has been sacked by Truss after serving as health secretary for just eight weeks.

Barclay was tasked with turning No.10 around in the wake of the partygate scandal that helped bring about Johnson’s demise, serving briefly as the former PM’s chief of staff,

He was a vocal supporter of Sunak, saying he had “all the right attributes to take our country forward”.

Grant Shapps

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Sunak-backer Shapps may not have won himself any friends in the unions, but was well liked in his party for his ability to steady the ship in turbulent times.

Shapps was reliably wheeled on for the broadcast rounds on the most difficult days of the partygate scandal for his calm demeanour and ability to give assured media performances.

He was also given the nickname “spreadsheet Shapps” for putting together numbers on how MPs would vote in a no-confidence vote against Johnson.

Could Truss miss Shapp’s organisational skills— and loyalty?

Johnny Mercer

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Mercer has become a vocal critic of his party in recent years. He reacted angrily when sacked by Truss, saying he was “disappointed” but accepted the PM is “entitled to reward her supporters”.

He also suggested he could quit the Commons altogether, saying: “I have to accept that I will never possess the qualities required for enduring success in politics as it stands, and to be fair to my wonderful family, I must consider my future.”

Mercer’s wife, Felicity Cornelius-Mercer, waded into the row, branding Truss an “imbecile” while hitting out at a Cabinet system that “stinks” and “treats people appallingly”.

Mark Spencer

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Johnson-loyalist Mark Spencer, who served as chief whip from 2019 to 2022, has also been given the axe.

Spencer was moved from his role as chief whip to Commons leader following allegations — which he denies —that he told Nus Ghani that she had lost her job as a minister because her “Muslimness had been raised as an issue” by colleagues.

George Eustice

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Eustice was one of the more prominent backers of Sunak in the Cabinet. He has been sacked as environment secretary, a role he has held for two years.

During the leadership campaign, he appeared to take a swipe at Truss for her time as international trade secretary, saying: “There’s a couple of areas where I think [Sunak] has got a position that I am much more comfortable with than what I suspect will be the case with Liz Truss, and that’s really in a context of international trade.

“He’s made clear during this contest that he thinks we shouldn’t rush agreements, that we should get them right, and that we do need to uphold our food standards and animal welfare standards in those trade agreements.”

Simon Hart

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Johnson loyalist Hart has been sacked as Welsh secretary and has been replaced by Robert Buckland.

In an article for PoliticsHome, Hart said the next Tory leader after Johnson needed to have “gravitas, experience, compassion, resilience, pragmatism”.

He added: “Many of our new leadership candidates have some of these attributes in plenty, but only one has the full suite — Rishi Sunak.”

Greg Clark

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Clark, who served as business secretary under Theresa May, has been sacked as levelling up secretary after just eight weeks in the job.

He did not endorse either Sunak or Truss in the leadership race.

On being sacked, he said: “After a bruising period, I hope everyone in my party will come together in support of achieving that.”

Greg Hands

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Greg Hands, who has served in government since 2011, said he was “disappointed” to be leaving his post.

Who else has not made the cut?

Matt Warman and Shailesh Vara have also left government.


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