Britain’s incoming prime minister, Boris Johnson, starts appointing his government team on Wednesday, after weeks of planning and of jockeying among Conservative hopefuls looking for top jobs in his new cabinet.
Johnson, a figurehead for the campaign to leave the European Union in 2016, is expected to appoint a cabinet team “showcasing all the talents within the party that truly reflects modern Britain”, according to a source close to the new leader.
He is also expected to increase the number of women attending cabinet meetings and to appoint a record number of ethnic minority politicians, his team has said.
The appointments will offer a glimpse into Johnson’s plans for governing Britain after his “do or die” pledge to leave the EU on Oct. 31, with or without a deal.
APPOINTMENTS SO FAR
Dominic Cummings - senior adviser
Cummings masterminded the official Vote Leave campaign in the run-up to the 2016 Brexit referendum and is lauded by some Brexit campaigners for his successful strategy to convince voters to back leaving the EU in the face of a much better financed Remain campaign.
At the time of the referendum, a fellow campaigner said Cummings uses “Soviet propaganda techniques”.
He will act as a senior adviser to Johnson, an appointment which risks a backlash from some lawmakers who dislike his brusque manner and seeming disregard for parliament.
Andrew Griffith - business adviser
Griffith worked his way up through Sky under Rupert Murdoch’s ownership, becoming chief financial officer in 2008 and helping create Europe’s biggest pay-TV group.
A former parliamentary candidate for the Conservatives, Griffith lent Johnson his Westminster townhouse as a base to plot his first steps towards the premiership. He will be tasked with repairing relations with the corporate sector ahead of Brexit.
One colleague who worked with Griffith at Sky said he had an incredible intellect and an ability to “make stuff happen”.
Mark Spencer - Chief Whip
A little-known Conservative lawmaker, Spencer will be Johnson’s chief enforcer in parliament. This will be a crucial role given the Conservatives’ lack of majority in the House of Commons and the deep divisions among the party’s lawmakers over the right way forward on Brexit.
Spencer, who became a Member of Parliament (MP) in 2010 after working for his family’s farm business, is well-liked by his colleagues and his appointment was praised by lawmakers from across the party’s factions.
Patel campaigned to leave the EU and has been an outspoken critic of outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May’s approach to Brexit. She voted against May’s Brexit deal on each occasion it was put before parliament.
Johnson’s team have said she is due to be given a senior ministerial job, with media reporting she is tipped to be interior minister.
Patel’s appointment would mark a political comeback after she was forced to resign as International Development minister in November 2017 over undisclosed meetings with Israeli officials that breached diplomatic protocol.
Born to Indian parents, Patel launched an appeal to “Save the British Curry” during the referendum campaign which argued that a post-Brexit immigration system would be fairer to those from outside the EU and ease a shortage of chefs for Indian restaurants in Britain.
Sharma is a junior minister in the Department of Work and Pensions and previously worked under Johnson in the foreign office. An accountant by training, he worked in banking for 16 years before entering parliament.
As housing minister, he handled the aftermath of a fire in Grenfell Tower, a social housing block in west London, in June 2017 which killed 71 people, and was heckled by survivors at a televised meeting at which he offered them temporary rather than permanent homes in the local area.