She has appointed Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor of the Exchequer, or chief financial officer, a role that will be crucial as the country grapples with a cost of living crisis. On Tuesday night he tweeted that it was “the honor of a lifetime” to be nominated and promised to announce an “urgent support package to help pay energy bills”.
Kwarteng, whose parents emigrated to Britain from Ghana, is the first black Briton to hold the post. Ten years ago he wrote a book examining the rule of the British Empire in the former colonies of Iraq, Kashmir, Myanmar, Sudan, Nigeria and Hong Kong.
Truss’ new foreign secretary is James Cleverly, a mixed-race reservist whose mother is from Sierra Leone and whose father is from Wiltshire, about 90 miles from London. He has publicly spoken of being bullied as a mixed-race child and has lectured at Conservative Party conferences on how the party can win support from black voters.
Cleverly will serve as Britain’s top diplomat at a time of rocky relations between her and the 27-nation EU bloc.
The new Home Secretary is Suella Braverman, whose parents came to Britain in the 1960s from Kenya and Mauritius.
All three names had been leaked in recent days and came as no surprise, in part because each person was a staunch ally of Truss during his winning leadership campaign.
The diversity of ministerial appointments has been hailed by some, in a country where Conservative Party members – around 0.3% of the UK population – are generally older, wealthier, 95% white and politically more to the right than the Britain as a whole. (Almost 85% of people living in England and Wales identify as white, according to government data.)
“The new cabinet is another reminder that people from all walks of life can go far in the Conservative Party,” Samuel Kasumu, Johnson’s former race affairs adviser, told the Guardian newspaper.
Not everyone seemed convinced. A headline in Britain’s right-wing tabloid Daily Mail said ruefully: “Liz Truss puts the finishing touches on new diverse government: No room for white men in big state offices.
His predecessor, Johnson, also had a fairly diverse ministerial composition. Home Secretary Priti Patel was the first Indian-born British MP to hold the post, while the three Chancellors during Johnson’s tenure included two men of South Asian descent and one of Kurdish descent . Truss was Johnson’s foreign secretary.
Some have pointed out that although ethnically diverse, Truss’s likely top appointees are on the party’s right wing. Kwarteng had been pushing for Britain to quickly leave the European Union, while Braverman said schools could legally ignore the preferred pronouns of gender non-conforming and transgender pupils.
Truss, 47, promises to cut taxes and boost borrowing to fund spending, even as inflation tops double digits and the Bank of England predicts a prolonged recession by the end of the year . Truss also promised to make reducing illegal migration a key priority, ensuring the continuation of a policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda who enter Britain on small boats.
Liz Truss succeeds Boris Johnson as British Prime Minister
The centre-left opposition Labor Party has more ethnically and sexually diverse lawmakers, but they hold a smaller proportion of the party’s top positions.ts. The Labor Party has never elected a woman to lead its party; the Conservatives, on the other hand, have had three female prime ministers.
Labor politician Shaista Aziz said on Twitter in response to news from potential Truss appointees that “it’s not enough to be a black or ethnic minority politician in this country or a member of cabinet. That’s not what it’s about. It’s actually symbolism.
As the leadership vote approached, Aziz wrote an article accusing the Conservatives of failing to represent the concerns of ordinary people.
“Despite all the talk of diversity and inclusion, Tory candidates of color and all who entered the race support the party’s right-wing immigration policies, which include the removal of asylum seekers from the UK. United and airlifting them to Rwanda while their asylum claims are processed,” she wrote last month.
Labor legislator Marsha de Cordova said that while Truss’ cabinet is expected to be diverse, “it will be the most right-wing in living memory, adopting a political program that will attack the rights of workers, especially minorities.”
Karla Adam and William Booth contributed to this report.
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