The new Conservative British Prime Minister Theresa May has made some interesting appointments to her new cabinet. First of all some big figures in the previous Cameron cabinet are not included. This includes most notably as Chancellor of the Exchequer the departure of George Osborne widely seen as the architect of Britain’s punishing and in my view misguided austerity policy. Osborne has been replaced by Philip Hammond who is also quite right wing and has a reputation as a fiscal hawk. So this raises a potential problem if the Prime Minister wants to move away from austerity and embrace a one nation strategy that strives to promote greater equality of opportunity and abolition of class division. The first test will be when the new Chancellor a former business entrepreneur brings in his first budget in an environment still likely to be suffering from the shock of the Brexit referendum and the general malaise in the European economy. In another appointment which has raised eyebrows in high places in both Europe and North America, Prime Minister May has named the leading Brexiteer Boris Johnson as foreign secretary. Johnson is, of course, a controversial charismatic intellectual figure but does he have the necessary diplomatic skills ? Already his critics in Germany and France have weighed in critically. For example, the French Foreign minister has called him somewhat undiplomatically “a liar” on account of Mr.Johnson’s declarations against the EU during the Brexit campaign. So it should be interesting to watch the new foreign minister perform over the next few months. Our own Minister of Foreign affairs, Stéphane Dion and our Minister of international trade should be quick to be in touch to open discussions about enhancing trade and exchange with Britain.
Other interesting appointments and dismissals include the dismissal of Oliver Letwin as Chancellor of the Dutchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove from justice and Nicky Morgan from Education in the Cameron cabinet and the appointment of Amber Rudd at energy, Liam Fox as Secretary of International Trade, David Davis as Secretary of state for exiting the EU and Andrea Leadsom to environment and rural affairs.