Liz Truss's cabinet first without white man in top jobs
The new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK) Liz Truss has chosen a unique Cabinet for the first time in the country's history. Two days after winning the race in a political battle with Rishi Sunak of Indian origin, Truss selected a cabinet where a white man would not hold one of the country's four most important ministerial positions including foreign and finance.
Why does this story matter?
- Indian-origin Rishi Sunak, who resigned as the finance minister on July 5 in protest against the Boris Johnson-led administration's misconduct, was initially seen as the lead contender in the PM race.
- However, Truss emerged victorious on Monday defeating Sunak with a huge margin of 81,326.
- She became the third woman PM of the UK after Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May.
Who's in the Cabinet?
According to Reuters, Truss chose Kwasi Kwarteng of Ghanaian origin as Britain's first Black finance minister and James Cleverly as the country's first Black foreign minister. Cleverly is of West African origin because his mother was from Sierra Leone. Suella Braverman, whose parents belonged to Kenya and Mauritius, will be the second ethnic minority home secretary in charge of police and immigration.
Push by the Conservative Party
As per analysts, diversity in administration has been promoted by the Conservative Party in recent years to have representation from various backgrounds and attract voters likewise. They said British governments have until a few decades ago been made up of mostly white men. In 2002, UK got its first ethnic minority cabinet minister when Paul Boateng was appointed chief secretary to the Treasury.
'White continues to dominate the top administrative positions'
Sunder Katwala, director of the non-partisan think-tank British Future, said that politics has set the pace that makes diversity normal in the UK. "The pace of change is extraordinary," he said. However, he said the upper ranks of administration including the judiciary and the army are all still predominately white. Katwala said Conservative Party also has less representation of women and people from minority backgrounds.
Voters see a better politician in Truss
Sunak was considered the frontrunner for the PM position when the contest began. Despite her opposition to Brexit, Tory MPs have shifted their support to Truss and her right-wing ideology. According to analysts, Truss is a better politician than Sunak, and while Sunak has the attributes of a good minister, Truss has exhibited the traits that a nation needs in a politician.
New PM faced with challenge of economic turmoil
Meanwhile, Truss has committed to lower taxes as the UK experiences its worst cost-of-living era, with inflation reaching double digits and oil costs skyrocketing owing to the Russia-Ukraine situation. According to a survey, locals are concerned about having to choose between heating and feeding this winter, since expenses are expected to jump by 80% from October.