Who’s who in Boris Johnson’s new UK cabinet

Sajid Javid, Priti Patel and Dominic Raab given key roles in prime minister’s team

British prime minister Boris Johnson has told his new team of ministers that they have "a momentous task ahead" and are committed to delivering Brexit by October 31st.

Sajid Javid – chancellor

The former home secretary always seemed set for a high-ranking position in Boris Johnson's cabinet, as an already prominent minister who was seen as having boosted his status in the race to succeed Theresa May. He will now replace Philip Hammond as chancellor.

The former investment banker – who has never denied the theory that he took a pay cut of about 97 per cent when he became an MP in 2010 – has risen through the ministerial ranks, serving under May as communities secretary and then replacing Amber Rudd as home secretary after she quit over the Windrush scandal.

Javid used his profile and backstory to propel an energetic leadership campaign as far as the fourth round of MPs' voting, after which he calmly moved his support behind Johnson.

As he said many times during the process, Sajid is not your typical Conservative minister. He was born in Rochdale to parents who had moved from Pakistan. Javid's father initially worked as a bus driver and then opened a shop in Bristol.


Javid became a Tory activist at university and then joined a US investment bank, saying it felt more open than the UK equivalents, where bosses hinted someone from his background would be better off lowering their ambitions.

A diligent minister if often criticised as an uninspiring speaker, Javid saw his profile rise during the leadership campaign, not least when in a TV debate he nudged his fellow candidates into agreeing to an inquiry into Islamophobia in the party.

Dominic Raab – foreign secretary and first secretary of state

The former Brexit secretary thought he had a real chance of entering No 10 but he failed to win over the Eurosceptic hardliners who ended up flocking to Johnson. Within the party he is considered a rightwinger with an interest in civil liberties, as a former chief of staff to David Davis before entering parliament.

He has in the past proposed allowing state schools to make a profit, scrapping all “levies subsidising green technologies” on energy bills, ending the minimum wage for under-21s working for small businesses and making it easier for companies to sack underperforming employees. He has also spoken of wanting to scrap the Government Equalities Office, which he describes as “pointless”, and merging the department for international development (DfID) into the foreign office.

During the leadership campaign, he defended his claim that feminists are some of the most obnoxious bigots and that men are getting a raw deal, saying he does not want “double standards” in the debate on equality.

Priti Patel – home secretary

A key face of the Vote Leave campaign, Patel was sacked by May as international development secretary for a highly ill-advised freelance trip to Israel where she touted her influence with politicians – without the knowledge of the foreign office.

Born to Gujarati parents who fled Uganda in the 1960s, she is a well-known voice on the right of the Conservative party. She was a controversial appointment at DfID, having previously called for the foreign aid target to be scrapped. She also once advocated bringing back the death penalty.

Patel flirted with a leadership bid and sparked frenzied speculation that she would run when seen filming a promotional video in Victoria Tower gardens. But she decided against it and gave her support to Johnson, a close ally when they both sat round the cabinet table. He gave vocal support to her when she was mired in the scandal which led to her resignation.

Boris Johnson’s first cabinet meeting at Downing Street, London, on Thursday. Photograph: Aaron Chown/Reuters

Michael Gove – chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

In being made chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – effectively minister without portfolio – Gove could either be rewarded by Johnson with a key, roving brief or utterly sidelined.

If the latter happens it will be a notable demotion for an energetic and strongly pro-Brexit minister who narrowly missed out on reaching the final stage of the Tory leadership campaign.

This time, Gove did not overly alienate Johnson, but there is still bad blood between the pair for the way Gove – as Johnson would see it – double-crossed him in the last leadership election in 2016, deciding at the last moment to stand himself rather than support Johnson, who then pulled out.

Like Johnson a former newspaper columnist, in his case for the Times, Gove has represented the safe Surrey Heath seat since 2005.

After a junior spell on the shadow front benches he was made education secretary by David Cameron in 2010 and oversaw a massive change of the schools system, including a mass process of academy conversions, winning plaudits from many Tories but alienating many teachers, school leaders and others in the system.

Gove was notably better received as justice secretary, in part as he spent much of his time undoing the disastrous work of Chris Grayling. He lost the job when May took over, but a year later was moved to the environment brief, where he energetically went to war on plastic and won some cautious praise from environmental groups.

Matt Hancock, the new UK health secretary. Photograph: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

Matt Hancock – health secretary

The Tiggerish health secretary has kept the same job he had at the start of the day. Hancock will be relieved to stay in the cabinet, but could be forgiven for wishing it was a promotion given the mockery endured over his rapid swivel to support Johnson after his own very differently-oriented campaign ran out of steam.

A former protege of George Osborne, Hancock comes firmly from the more liberal, modernising side of the party, and made his tilt for the leadership insisting a no-deal Brexit would be a bad mistake.

After his ejection from the fight in the first round of voting, rather than swing behind a more similarly-minded candidate such as Rory Stewart, or even Michael Gove, Hancock revealed that he would support Johnson as a “one-nation” Conservative. There then followed several rather uncomfortable media appearances in which the Johnson camp sent out Hancock to defend policies he had previously condemned.

It is not the first time Hancock has pulled off such a miraculous escape. As chief of staff to Osborne before entering parliament in 2010, Hancock was closely associated with the Osborne-Cameron circle, and rose steadily through junior ministerial ranks under the coalition and beyond.

When May took over in 2016 he might have expected a return to the backbenches but was spared, possibly because – as with Johnson – he was an early backer of the future PM in the leadership contest. Within 18 months he was in the cabinet as culture secretary where, among other achievements, he launched the much-mocked “Matt Hancock app” – and then on to health.

Andrea Leadsom – business secretary

The minister who arguably tipped the balance in May finally deciding to quit No 10, Leadsom resigned as leader of the House of Commons on May 22nd, saying she had finally lost faith with the government’s plan for Brexit. Two days later, May finally announced her timetable for departure.

The loss of Leadsom was significant because while she is a confirmed and long-time leave supporter, she had also proved a pragmatist, and one who had worked tirelessly, if in vain, to try and shepherd May’s doomed Brexit plan through the Commons.

Leadsom had been, alongside May, the last of two MPs in the race to succeed David Cameron in 2016, but dropped out after suggesting in an interview she had more of a stake in the national future as she is a mother. May does not have children. Leadsom apologised to the new PM.

May made Leadsom environment secretary, but a year later moved her to be Commons leader, something seen by some as a slight demotion.

But Leadsom took on the role with some gusto, becoming centrally involved not just in Brexit legislation, but also moves to tackle bullying and harassment in parliament.

A former financial sector manager before entering parliament in 2010 to represent the newly- created seat of South Northamptonshire, Leadsom is also a vocal advocate of more government intervention in early-years services to improve people’s life chances.

Liz Truss – international trade secretary

The former chief secretary to the treasury, now the international trade secretary, is a staunch ideological supporter of Johnson, supporting his plan to cut taxes for higher- earners with notably more enthusiasm then he did.

The MP for South West Norfolk since 2010 was briefly justice secretary before moving to the treasury – where her staunchly pro-Brexit views put Truss at odds with her boss, Philip Hammond.

Truss styles herself as a champion of free- enterprise, low taxes, reduced regulations and the gig economy, something she insists will make the party appeal to younger voters, – a generation she regularly, and slightly cringingly, refers to as “Uber-riding, Airbnb-ing, Deliveroo-eating freedom fighters”.

Also known for a hugely earnest and much-memed speech about cheese imports, Truss grew up in a left-wing family in Paisley and then Leeds, but moved gradually towards the Conservatives, via the Lib Dems.

A qualified accountant, she worked for Shell and Cable & Wireless, but was still only 25 when she contested her first Westminster seat, Hemsworth, in 2001. After another false start in 2005 she was adopted in her current safe seat.

In parliament, Truss soon set out her views – along with Dominic Raab she was among five Tory MPs who wrote Britannia Unchained, a 2012 booklet dedicated to unbridled free enterprise, one much-quoted section of which condemned the British people as “among the worst idlers in the world”.

Theresa Villiers – environment secretary

Another long-time Brexiter to return to government under Johnson, Villiers represents the decidedly suburban London-fringes seat of Chipping Barnet, but has a prior political interest in farming and animal welfare issues.

A lawyer by training before becoming an MEP, Villiers took her Westminster seat in 2005, and immediately became shadow chief secretary to the treasury under the departing Tory leader, Michael Howard. David Cameron made her shadow transport secretary, then a junior minister in the coalition, and she spent four years as Northern Ireland secretary. She left government when May took over in No 10, after refusing a more junior role.

As environment secretary she will take on a brief handled energetically by Michael Gove, and will oversee potentially hugely tricky challenges in the farming sector post-Brexit, especially in the event of no deal.

Gavin Williamson – education secretary

A positively Lazarus-like return to cabinet for the former defence secretary, a mere 84 days after he was dismissed in circumstances arguably even more murky than those which prompted Priti Patel to quit.

Williamson was sacked without ceremony by May on May 1st over what was called “compelling” evidence of his role in a leak from the National Security Council of Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s 5G network.

Williamson was summoned to May’s Commons office, where she confronted him with the evidence and offered him the opportunity to resign. He refused and she immediately fired him. The ex-minister railed against what he called a “kangaroo court”.

As a former chief whip, with an in-depth knowledge of the Tory party machinery, Williamson was a key member of Johnson’s campaign team, and had been expected to return to government.

Education is a complex brief, and doubters will wonder whether he might struggle, as seemed to be the case at defence. There, Williamson attracted some mockery for his seemingly naive machismo in the job, such as saying Russia should “go away and shut up”.

Alok Sharma – secretary of state for international development

Sharma is a former accountant in the marginal seat of Reading West who has held various junior ministerial roles and campaigned to remain in the referendum. Born in India, he is not a big figure in parliament but backed Johnson. He is tipped for promotion despite his support for HS2 and Heathrow, which the new prime minister is sceptical about.

Amber Rudd keeps her position as secretary of state for work and pensions. Photograph: Vickie Flores/EPA

Amber Rudd – work and pensions secretary

She once described Johnson as someone she wouldn’t want to accept a lift home from a party with, but Rudd has made clear she would be willing to take a seat at his cabinet table, despite their differences, and keeps her old post.

Rudd attended the prestigious girls’ school Cheltenham Ladies’ College, and pursued a career in finance – working for JP Morgan, and the family investment company Monticello – before entering parliament in 2010.

Previously slated as a potential leadership candidate herself, Rudd’s reputation suffered a significant blow when she had to resign as home secretary over the treatment of the Windrush generation.

She says she has learned from that episode to ask more questions and get more involved in the day-to-day running of her department.

At the department for work and pensions, she has struck a markedly different tone from her predecessor, Esther McVey, admitting that it was sometimes taking claimants too long to receive universal credit payments, and and introducing several modest reforms.

The MP for Hastings and Rye, Rudd backed Jeremy Hunt’s candidacy for No 10, introducing him alongside Penny Mordaunt, and is a co-chair of the One Nation Group of Tory MPs, which acts as a counterweight to the ardently pro-Brexit European Research Group. She has a perilously small majority, of just 346 votes.

Ben Wallace – defence secretary

An MP for almost 15 years and a frontbencher for 12, Wallace will nonetheless be one of the lesser-known figures in Boris Johnson’s new cabinet, where he has replaced Penny Mordaunt as defence secretary.

Formerly the security minister in the home office, he has a military background, serving as an officer in the Scots Guards in Northern Ireland, among other postings, before working in the defence industry.

From 1999 to 2003 he was a member of the Scottish parliament, standing down to seek a Westminster seat in England. In 2005 he won the Lancaster and Wyre seat, switching to the newly-created Wyre and Preston North constituency after a rejig of boundaries.

From 2007 he worked in the Scotland and Northern Ireland offices, and as a whip, before entering the home office when May became PM.

Stephen Barclay – Brexit secretary

Barclay was little known outside Westminster when he was first appointed May as Brexit secretary to succeed Raab, who resigned over her deal. He was considered by Brussels to be better prepared than the first Brexit secretary, David Davis, and easier to deal with than Raab.

But as an early backer of Johnson he clashed with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, when delivering the sobering message that Johnson now considered May’s deal dead. He has recently championed the need to continue with high spending on no-deal preparations and described the prospect as “under-priced”.

Nicky Morgan – culture, media and sport secretary

Yet another return for a cabinet minister culled by May. Morgan spent two years as education secretary under David Cameron, but was removed by May in 2016.

Relations between the pair did not improve when Morgan was dropped from a group of backbench MPs set for a private meeting with the prime minister after she criticised May for wearing £995 trousers.

At that point Morgan, a remain supporter, seemed set for a long career as a backbench Brexit malcontent, along with her role chairing the treasury select committee.

However, she then became a key player in the convoluted and doomed Brexit fudge known as the Malthouse compromise (after instigator and fellow Tory MP Kit Malthouse) and thus worked herself back into favour with the leave camp.

A former corporate lawyer, Morgan entered parliament in 2005, representing Loughborough. She took seven years to join the Tory front bench, but then ascended rapidly.

Former chief whip Julian Smith is the new Northern Ireland secretary. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

Julian Smith – Northern Ireland secretary

The former chief whip gets a role that will be significant given the negotiations with the EU over the fate of the post-Brexit border on the island of Ireland, and the Tories’ reliance on the Democratic Unionist party for their slim parliamentary majority.

Robert Jenrick – housing, communities and local government secretary

A big promotion for the youngest member of Johnson’s cabinet, and the most recent arrival in Westminster. The former lawyer (37) entered parliament in 2014 in the Newark byelection, caused by the resignation of incumbent MP Patrick Mercer.

Jenrick has been on the Tory frontbench for even less time, taking a junior treasury role at the start of 2018.

As the minister ultimately responsible for housing, he might have to explain a property portfolio which, at the time of his election, stretched to three homes, two in London and a country estate. His current register of interests lists only one extra home.

Robert Buckland – justice secretary

A promotion from prisons minister – where he had only been for 11 weeks, taking over from Rory Stewart – and to a brief which fits his professional background.

Buckland was a criminal barrister in Wales for almost 20 years, and sat part-time as a judge, before entering parliament in 2010.

His initial frontbench role was the more junior legal job of solicitor general. A former remainer, Buckland pushed strongly for May’s Brexit deal, but has not been critical of Johnson.

Grant Shapps – transport secretary

Shapps has been rewarded for his role helping Johnson’s successful leadership campaign. His previous roles include being both Tory party co-chairman and a cabinet office minister from 2012 to 2015, when he became a minister at the department for international development. He resigned from that role in November 2015 in the wake of revelations that he had been warned about bullying in the party before the death of one of its young activists.In March 2015 he admitted – after three years of denials – that he had had a second job as a “multimillion-dollar web marketer” under the pseudonym Michael Green for at least year after he first became an MP.

Other cabinet ministerial roles go to . . .

Alun Cairns survives as Welsh secretary and Alister Jack replaces David Mundell as Scottish secretary. Natalie Evans is lord privy seal, and leader of the Lords. James Cleverley becomes Conservative party chair and minister without portfolio.

Other appointees who will also attend cabinet . . .

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been appointed Lord President of the Council and leader of the House of Commons. Rishi Sunak will also attend cabinet as chief secretary to the treasury, as will Esther McVey, who becomes minister of state at the ministry of housing, communities and local government, and Chris Skidmore, minister of state for universities, science, research and innovation. Geoffrey Cox stays on as attorney general, while Mark Spencer is chief whip.

Brandon Lewis has been appointed a home office minister. And the prime minister’s brother, Jo Johnson, has been appointed a minister of state at the department for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) and the department for education. Oliver Dowden was named paymaster general and minister for cabinet office. Kwasi Kwarteng becomes minister of state at BEIS. They will all attend cabinet, according to Downing Street. – Guardian