Prior to the coronation of Theresa May, as Britain’s new Prime Minister, I thought I would share a couple of comments and advice on her Cabinet appointments.
Firstly, we can ignore the clamour from Labour and the Liberal Democrats for a snap General Election. Labour’s call is perfunctory – they would be very, very negatively impacted by such an election. UKIP would severely damage them in the North of England. As for the LibDems, well, enough said.
Secondly, in order to demonstrate that the country can trust Theresa May and her government, we should take immediate steps to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. There is a suspicion that this step is being delayed and that after April 2017 we would require the approval of 14 EU nations. Let’s get rid of all of that buy firing the starting pistol, now. An added benefit of imposing this eminently achievable deadline, is that this would clarify the future somewhat and cause minds to be concentrated rather than us drifting, as we are currently.
Thirdly, announce the immediate abandonment of the HS2 project – this is a project that is a major embarrassment and produces little real benefits – a few meaningless minutes off journey times. The cost is also likely to balloon above the £50 Billion current level and will damage the physical environment and maybe Conservative election prospects.
Now to the Cabinet.
Chancellor of the Exchequer – Pundits point to Philip Hammond – Although a Remainer, no problem with his appointment.
Home Secretary – Re-combine this department with Justice and appoint Michael Gove. If not combining, then leave Gove at Justice, move Michael Fallon to Home Office and appoint Liam Fox as Defence Secretary.
Foreign Secretary – Chris Grayling – a Brexiteer but solid performer
Defence, Education, Transport, Wales, Northern Ireland, Leader of the Lords, Work & Pensions, Scotland – stay with incumbents Michael Fallon, Nicky Morgan, Patrick McLoughlin, Alun Cairns, Theresa Villiers, Baroness Stowell, Stephen Crabb and David Mundell, respectively
Merge Communities and Local Government ministry and Energy and Climate Change ministry together with Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ministry and appoint Andrea Leadsom.
Create a new department for England and appoint Jeremy Hunt as minister with Cabinet seat.
Culture, Media & Sport – Add responsibilities for London – Boris Johnson
Business, Innovation and Skills and Minister for Women & Equalities – Priti Patel – She would bring energy and common sense to this brief.
Health – Liz Truss – A very solid media performer who would be able to take-on the doctor’s union – the BMA and the other self-serving provider unions, within the NHS
Leader of the House – Greg Clark
International Development – Sajid Javid
Secretary of State for Brexit – David Davis – He is a solid performer, confirmed Brexiteer who commands respect on both sides of the argument. A man of principle, with a very good ‘back-story’.
So nothing for George Osborne – like Cameron he must suffer the consequences of his Project Fear – not just because it failed but because he so mis-read the electorate.
If Theresa May wanted to be mischievous, she could do worse than appoint Boris Johnson as Secretary of State for Scotland. He would have no hesitation in slapping down the ‘gobby’ Sturgeon every time she popped-up with another stupid IndyRef2 claim.
The time has come for England to have its own minister and that is why I suggest to appoint someone of the calibre of Jeremy Hunt. Health is a poisoned chalice and especially so, for a Conservative. Hunt has made a good fist of his time at that department.