Tuesday, April 23, 2024

New UK PM’s cabinet is first without white man in top jobs

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London – New British prime minister Liz Truss selected a cabinet where for the first time a white man will not hold one of the country’s four most important ministerial positions.

Truss appointed Kwasi Kwarteng – whose parents came from Ghana in the 1960s – as Britain’s first Black finance minister, while James Cleverly is the first Black foreign minister.

Cleverly, whose mother hails from Sierra Leone and whose father is white, spoke in the past about being bullied as a mixed-race child and said the party needed to do more to attract Black voters.

Suella Braverman, whose parents came to Britain from Kenya and Mauritius six decades ago, succeeds Priti Patel as the second ethnic minority home secretary, or interior minister, where she will be responsible for police and immigration.

In addition, Truss appointed Therese Coffey as her deputy prime minister and as health minister.

Coffey was the minister for work and pensions under Boris Johnson’s administration.

The growing diversity is in part thanks to a push by the Conservative Party in recent years to put forward a more varied set of candidates for parliament.

British governments have until a few decades ago been made up of mostly white men. It took until 2002 for Britain to appoint its first ethnic minority cabinet minister when Paul Boateng was appointed chief secretary to the Treasury.

The upper ranks of business, the judiciary, the civil service, and army are all still predominately white however.

There were plenty of sackings, but Ben Wallace kept his role as defence secretary, a post he has held since July 2019 and in which he has earned praise for his response to the Ukraine crisis.

Once considered a favourite to succeed Boris Johnson, he surprised many by deciding not to stand in the leadership contest and backed Truss after she reached the last round.

(Reuters)

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