This combination of pictures shows Britain’s new Home Secretary Suella Braverman (top L), Britain’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly (top R), Britain’s new Health Secretary Therese Coffey (bottom L) and Britain’s new Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng leaving 10 Downing Street after a meeting with Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss in central London, U.K., Sept. 6, 2022. (AFP Photo)
Ns News Online Desk: New British Prime Minister Liz Truss has selected a Cabinet where for the first time a white man will not hold one of the country’s four most important ministerial positions. After she became U.K. premier on Tuesday, Truss quickly began appointing senior members of her Cabinet as she tackles an inbox dominated by the energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which threatens to push energy bills to affordably levels, shuttering businesses and leaving the nation’s poorest people shivering at home this winter.
Truss – Britain’s third female prime minister – named a top team diverse in gender and ethnicity, but loyal to her and her free-market politics. Kwasi Kwarteng becomes the first black U.K. Treasury chief, and Therese Coffey its first female deputy prime minister. Other appointments include James Cleverly as foreign secretary and Suella Braverman as home secretary, responsible for immigration and law and order.
Cleverly, whose mother hails from Sierra Leone and whose father is white, has in the past spoken about being bullied as a mixed-race child and has said the party needs to do more to attract black voters.
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.
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.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the hard line Brexiteer who has decried “climate alarm ism,” was appointed as secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy.
“Politics has set the pace. We now treat it as normal, this diversity,” said Sunder Katwala, director of the non-partisan think tank British Future, which focuses on migration and identity. “The pace of change is extraordinary.”
However, the upper ranks of business, the judiciary, the civil service and army are all still predominately white.
And despite the party’s diversity campaign, only a quarter of Conservative members of parliament are women and 6% from minority backgrounds.