Britain’s new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, is promising to fix the mistakes of his predecessors.
At the very top of the British government, it’s been a week of firsts: Liz Truss became the country’s shortest-serving prime minister when she resigned, and the 42-year-old Sunak is now the first Hindu and person of color to lead the country. In his cabinet, however, many of the faces in senior jobs are not new.
Here are some of the key players.
Jeremy Hunt: Finance minister
Hunt stays on as finance minister, after taking office less than two weeks ago to shred Truss’s economic agenda.
The reappointment appeared to initially calm the markets, although many are waiting for Hunt to outline his plans for balancing the books. That announcement, expected next week but pushed to Nov. 17, will detail a plan “to put public spending on a sustainable footing, get debt falling & restore stability,” an official statement said Wednesday.
Hunt will have to contend with record inflation, warnings of a recession and the aftermath of the government’s economic U-turn. Before she quit last week, Truss appointed Hunt as she jettisoned her finance minister and scrambled to reverse a vision, including tax cuts for high earners, that spooked the markets and sank the pound.
Hunt is the only White man in the “great offices of state,” or top government posts, which also include the foreign and home secretaries.
James Cleverly: Foreign secretary
Cleverly keeps his job too. As foreign minister, he has maintained British support for Ukraine in its battle against Russia. One of Ukraine’s staunchest backers, Britain has sent a stream of weapons to Kyiv during eight months of war.
In congratulating Cleverly on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he hoped the two would work closely on common priorities, “including unwavering support for Ukraine.”
With Ben Wallace also remaining as defense secretary, two key posts in charge of Britain’s foreign policy remain unchanged.
Suella Braverman: Home secretary
Braverman returns as home secretary after quitting last week when she voiced “concerns about the direction” of Truss’s government.
In her resignation letter, Braverman also cited as a reason that she had mistakenly committed an email data breach. Sunak faced criticism from the opposition on Wednesday for appointing Braverman days after she stepped down over a violation.
A hard-liner on immigration, Braverman promised to “work hard to control our borders.” She has called for deporting people who enter Britain illegally to Rwanda to press their asylum claims — a previous government policy that prompted outrage and faced legal obstacles.
She also drew attention when she blamed disruptions tied to climate protests earlier this month on what she called “Guardian-reading tofu-eating wokerati.”
Penny Mordaunt: House of Commons leader
Mordaunt dropped out of the race for prime minister when it seemed she would not get enough support from the Conservative Party. It was her second bid for the leadership post in months. She remains the leader in the House of Commons, representing the government in the lower house of Parliament.
A minister previously little known to the broader public and working to become a household name, Mordaunt was briefly Britain’s first female defense secretary in 2019. She once did a short stint on reality TV and as head of foreign press for George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.
William Booth and Karla Adam contributed to this report.