Truss holds out olive branch to Sunak backers as she recasts junior team

A mural depicting Liz Truss being declared a winner by Jacob Rees-Mogg after beating Rishi Sunak (Peter Morrison/PA) (PA Wire)
A mural depicting Liz Truss being declared a winner by Jacob Rees-Mogg after beating Rishi Sunak (Peter Morrison/PA) (PA Wire)

Liz Truss appears to have held out an olive branch to supporters of her defeated rival Rishi Sunak as she reshuffles her junior team.

Robert Jenrick, a high-profile backer of the former chancellor for the Tory leadership, has been made a minister in the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), while fellow Sunak supporter Mark Spencer has been handed a role in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Victoria Prentis, Jeremy Quin and Will Quince, who also favoured Mr Sunak for the leadership, have been given ministerial posts in the Department for Work and Pensions, Home Office and DHSC, respectively.

Meanwhile, hardline Brexiteer Steve Baker has been made a minister in the Northern Ireland Office.

He switched to the Truss camp after his preferred candidate, Suella Braverman, was eliminated from the contest.

Ms Truss has largely remade the top of Government in her own image, appointing Therese Coffey – who is considered one of her closest friends in Westminster – as her number two.

Kwasi Kwarteng, also a long-term ally of Ms Truss, has been moved to the Treasury, while her ardent supporter James Cleverly has been made Foreign Secretary.

Mr Sunak, who came out on top in the Westminster stage of the contest but fell short in the vote of Tory members, has been left by the wayside.

The new PM has also culled a number of her former rival’s prominent backers, dispatching Dominic Raab, Grant Shapps, George Eustice and Steve Barclay to the backbenches.

Mr Jenrick, who previously served as housing secretary from July 2019 to September 2021, said he would be “rooting” for Ms Truss after she won the contest.

He had said he was “proud” to support Mr Sunak for the leadership, claiming he was the “only candidate” able to provide the “grip” to get the country through the challenges at hand.

Mr Spencer, who was chief whip and then leader of the Commons under Mr Johnson, also backed Mr Sunak on account of his “proven track record”.

Ms Prentis called for the Tory party to “unite” when Ms Truss took the reins, wishing Mr Johnson’s successor “all the very best”.

She previously said she had chosen to vote for Mr Sunak because he had a “clear plan for the challenges we face”.