Rishi Sunak unveils senior members of cabinet after taking office as British PM

Rishi Sunak unveils senior members of cabinet after taking office as British PM
Rishi Sunak has unveiled his most senior members of cabinet after taking office as Britain's prime minister.
4 min read
Sunak is Britain's first prime minister of colour [Getty]

Rishi Sunak unveiled his top team of ministers, hours after taking office as Britain's first prime minister of colour vowing stability.

Here are the most senior members of his cabinet:

- Finance minister: Jeremy Hunt

A mild-mannered political survivor, Hunt remains in the role that ex-leader Liz Truss appointed him to 11 days ago as she tried to save her doomed premiership.

The 55-year-old has so far managed to calm markets severely roiled by her disastrous budget last month, but will require all of his considerable experience to keep stabilising the volatile situation.

A health minister under David Cameron and foreign minister under Theresa May, he found himself on the sidelines after Boris Johnson defeated him to become party leader in 2019.

After another failed leadership attempt this year following Johnson's demise, Hunt now suddenly finds himself at the heart of the economic and political storm that has engulfed the country.

Like Sunak, he has warned of difficult decisions on public spending ahead of delivering the government's much-anticipated medium-term fiscal plans on October 31.

- Foreign Secretary: James Cleverly

Britain's first top diplomat of colour, Cleverly is another holdover from Truss.

Considered a low-profile pick to succeed her in the global-facing role last month, he was a loyal lieutenant with some diplomatic experience.

A mixed-race army reservist with the actual rank of lieutenant colonel, he spent two years as a junior foreign minister following a stint before that in the department handling Brexit.

The 53-year-old supported an audacious, eventually aborted, comeback bid by Johnson at the weekend, but was seemingly forgiven by Sunak.

Little known in the UK outside Westminster, Cleverly was first elected to parliament in 2015 after serving in London's devolved assembly from 2007 and becoming an ally of then-mayor Johnson.

- Interior minister: Suella Braverman

A darling of Britain's Conservative right for her attacks on "woke" politics and other hardline positions, Braverman makes an astonishing return just days after she quit the same role under Truss.

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The 42-year-old claimed to have resigned over using her personal email to send an official document to a colleague, but also said she had "serious concerns" about Truss's government breaking manifesto promises.

She then backed Sunak for leader.

Attorney general for the last year of Johnson's time, she had worked as a lawyer before becoming an MP in 2015.

Finding a solution to the thorny political issue of illegal migration, which ultimately scuppered predecessor Priti Patel, will remain Braverman's top priority.

The government is currently embroiled in a legal battle to implement its plan to send migrants illegally crossing the Channel to Rwanda, which she vehemently supports.

She has contrasted Channel migrants' illegal entry to her own family's experience.

Braverman's parents, who are of Indian origin, emigrated legally to Britain in the 1960s from Kenya and Mauritius.

- Defence Secretary: Ben Wallace

A veteran in the role compared to the flux seen in other departments, Wallace has headed the ministry since July 2019.

A security minister before that, he has been widely credited for helping lead Britain's response to Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Wallace has been aided in the role by having previously served in the army as an officer in the Scots Guards and heading up a parliamentary group for relations with Iran.

A popular figure with the party's grassroots, he has regularly topped polls of their preferences for a new Conservative leader amid the political tumult of recent months.

Despite that, the 48 year-old has never stood to lead the Tories, repeatedly insisting he prefers his current job.

- Penny Mordaunt

Sunak's latest leadership rival, Mordaunt remains as Leader of the House of Commons, a post which oversees government business in parliament.

Mordaunt withdrew from the Tory leader contest after failing to secure enough Tory MPs' support minutes before a Monday lunchtime deadline, and may have paid a political price for failing to fold earlier.

Neither a promotion nor demotion, the non-move may disappoint the ambitious centrist, who had been tipped for more senior roles such as foreign secretary.

The 49-year-old has held several senior posts in UK government, and even appeared on a celebrity reality television show, but is still little known beyond Westminster and her ruling Conservatives.