The new top team: What could the Truss Cabinet look like?

·4-min read

While it may be tempting to appoint a stream of loyalists to get her premiership off the ground, Liz Truss will be acutely aware of the need to heal the fissures ripped though the Tory party by the summer’s bitter leadership contest.

Veteran Westminster watchers have started to speculate about who will take the top spots in her Cabinet, with Kwasi Kwarteng thought to be in line for Chancellor and James Cleverly for Foreign Secretary.

But it is never guaranteed who will make it to the room where it happens until someone signs off on that all-important announcement from No 10, either vindicating or quashing the rumours.

With that caveat firmly in mind, some have begun to sketch an outline of who could be chosen for Ms Truss’s top team, which – together with the new PM – will face a famously bleak in-tray.

So, where would you put your money? Here PA takes you through the likely candidates.

– Chancellor: Kwasi Kwarteng

The Business Secretary is widely expected to take Nadhim Zahawi’s place as Chancellor of the Exchequer, with the daunting brief of steering the country through an increasingly dire cost-of-living crisis.

– Foreign Secretary: James Cleverly

A vocal supporter of Ms Truss, James Cleverly is currently Education Secretary. He was previously a minister in the Foreign Office.

– Home Secretary: Suella Braverman

The Attorney General is tipped for the top-four role, replacing Priti Patel, following her own campaign for prime minister.

– Defence Secretary: Ben Wallace

Ben Wallace, whose endorsement provided a big boost for Ms Truss in the wake of the first official party hustings, is expected to continue in his role at the Ministry of Defence.

The popular Cabinet minister was a favourite for the top job in early polling of Tory members, but later ruled himself out of the contest.

– Health Secretary: Therese Coffey

The Work and Pensions Secretary, a close ally of Ms Truss, is thought to be in line for the health brief, where she will face the challenge of sorting a plan for the NHS without the guarantee of extra funds from the soon-to-be-canned national insurance hike.

– Levelling Up Secretary: Simon Clarke

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury is tipped to take on the office currently held by Greg Clark, and previously by Michael Gove.

– International Trade Secretary: Anne-Marie Trevelyan or Kemi Badenoch

Some say incumbent Anne-Marie Trevelyan may stay in her post.

But others think Kemi Badenoch, who performed well in the Westminster stage of the leadership contest finishing fourth, could take on the top role in the Department for International Trade.

Ms Truss previously said she would “definitely” give Ms Badenoch a government position if she was made prime minister.

– Education Secretary: Michelle Donelan, Ed Argar or Kemi Badenoch

This role could go to Michelle Donelan, who resigned from the post less than 36 hours after accepting it as Boris Johnson’s premiership collapsed around him in July.

Ed Argar, another minister who chose to break from the Johnson Government, is also being floated as a contender, as is Ms Badenoch.

– Culture Secretary: Nadine Dorries

It is thought that Ms Dorries could retain the culture brief, having stood by Ms Truss during the campaign.

– Justice Secretary: Brandon Lewis

The former Northern Ireland Secretary, who initially backed Nadhim Zahawi before pledging his support to Ms Truss, could be in line for Dominic Raab’s job.

Mr Raab, also Deputy Prime Minister, was no friend to Ms Truss during the campaign, firmly taking Rishi Sunak’s side.

– Work and Pensions Secretary: Chloe Smith

Reports suggest Ms Truss’s fellow Norfolk MP Chloe Smith could take over Therese Coffey’s role at the Department for Work and Pensions.

– Cabinet Office minister: Nadhim Zahawi

Nadhim Zahawi has been on quite the journey over the past couple of years – from widely celebrated vaccines minister to Education Secretary, followed by his ascension to Chancellor in the wake of Rishi Sunak’s dynamite resignation.

It is thought he is now earmarked for a Cabinet Office role.

– Business Secretary: Jacob Rees-Mogg

The minister for Brexit opportunities and Government efficiency is tipped to be in line for Mr Kwarteng’s job.

– Environment Secretary: Ranil Jayawardena

International trade minister Ranil Jayawardena could replace George Eustice in the environment brief, reports suggest.

– Party chairman: Grant Shapps or Jake Berry

It has been suggested Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who threw his hat in the ring for leader, is resisting a move to the party chairman role.

Jake Berry, chair of the Northern Research Group of Tory MPs, is also said to be in the running.