The Daily Telegraph
Truss urged to make Mordaunt deputy prime minister
Former Brexit Secretary ‘has no hard feelings’ after failure to secure job as minister under Truss
ALLIES of Penny Mordaunt are urging Liz Truss to appoint her former leadership rival as deputy prime minister.
Senior Conservative figures say the move would be “popular” with party members and MPS and could help bring the fractured party back together.
Ms Truss is expected to unveil her first Cabinet this evening, when she arrives at No10 after being appointed Prime Minister by the Queen at Balmoral.
Many of the biggest jobs are understood to have been decided, with none of the four great offices of state set to be occupied by a white male. In the most diverse top team ever, Kwasi Kwarteng is expected to become chancellor, with James Cleverly earmarked as foreign secretary. Suella Braverman is set to be home secretary.
However, some roles are still under discussion. Thérèse Coffey, a close friend of the Foreign Secretary, is tipped to become deputy prime minister and health secretary.
However, allies of Ms Mordaunt are pushing for her to be promoted to the deputy role.
One senior Tory figure who is set to be in Ms Truss’s first Cabinet said: “It’s the sort of title you can use as a political title. Bringing Penny in would be popular with the members and the party.”
During the leadership race, Ms Mordaunt was in the top two for all but the very final round of voting among Tory MPS and consistently polled highly among party members.
She has so far been linked to posts including Armed Forces minister, with a seat at the Cabinet, and party chairman. But allies say that they have been “extremely surprised” not to see her linked to more senior positions.
The deputy prime minister has the job of facing off against Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, in the Commons, including at Prime Minister’s Questions, if the prime minister is away.
Ms Truss is expected to hand other former leadership rivals Cabinet roles.
Nadhim Zahawi, the Chancellor, is likely to take charge of the Cabinet Office as the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat have been tipped to become education secretary and security minister attending Cabinet.
However, there were question marks last night over positions including Northern Ireland secretary and transport secretary.
In her victory speech, Ms Truss pledged to unite the party and said: “I will make sure that we use all the fantastic talents of the Conservative Party.”
But MPS who supported Rishi Sunak, who is not expected to have a role in the new Cabinet, are already expressing concern that Ms Truss seems to be giving all the top jobs to her own loyalists.
“It’s all very well Liz standing up there, saying I want to use the talent from all the party,” said one minister who backed the former chancellor’s campaign.
“At the moment she seems to think the talent only comes from those who supported her. She’s very weak in her parliamentary support and to so brazenly ignore the supporters of her rival, she’s already got enough problems.”
There will be no seat in Cabinet for Lord Frost, the former Brexit negotiator, who turned down two roles.
‘Britain has always been a beacon for freedom and democracy and I have been proud to work with you to make that light shine brighter’
LORD FROST, the former Brexit negotiator, will not be in Liz Truss’s first Cabinet after he turned down two roles that were offered to him, The Daily Telegraph understands.
The ex-diplomat was sounded out about the role of chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, once occupied by Michael Gove, but turned it down because Ms Truss wants the job to be far more narrowly focused.
Ms Truss’s team also raised the possibility of him being leader of the House of Lords, but he told them it should go to someone who has been a peer for much longer than his two years.
Although Lord Frost said he would be happy to serve in a Truss Cabinet if he was offered a job to which he felt he was suited, there has been no contact between the two sides in a week.
Yesterday afternoon, Priti Patel resigned as Home Secretary. Nigel Adams, the Cabinet Office minister, also quit. Both had been told there was unlikely to be a place for them in the Cabinet.
Nadine Dorries followed suit yesterday evening as sources close to the Culture Secretary said she had decided to stand down and return to the back benches.
Jake Berry, chairman of the Northern Research Group of Tory MPS, is to be appointed chairman of the Conservative Party. He will take over from Andrew Stephenson, who has only been in the role for two months, and his co-chairman Ben Elliot.
Mr Elliot, a businessman appointed by Mr Johnson in 2019, resigned from the job yesterday. He oversaw a huge increase in donations to the party from wealthy individuals, but has also faced questions over his business interests and fundraising methods.
Alister Jack, the Scottish Secretary, is set to remain in post, while Alok Sharma expects to stay on in the Cabinet as President for COP26, as he will be in that role until November. Having won the Tory leadership race, Ms Truss will announce her Cabinet today after she has been formally appointed by the Queen at Balmoral.
The news that Lord Frost, a former Cabinet Office minister, will be out of government will disappoint Conservative Party members, with whom he is hugely popular after playing a key role in securing agreement with the EU over Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.
He resigned from Mr Johnson’s Cabinet in December last year after criticising the Prime Minister’s stance on the Northern Ireland Protocol and his failures, in Lord Frost’s eyes, to seize the opportunities of Brexit.
Despite negotiating skills that might have made him a candidate for the job of Northern Ireland Secretary, he was not offered that role and he plays no part in the attempts to resolve the disagreement with Brussels over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Lord Frost told friends he had “no hard feelings” about his failure to land a Cabinet job, and would continue to support Ms Truss.
Yesterday, the Home Secretary wrote to Mr Johnson to inform him she would leave the post that she has held for three years as soon as her successor was appointed. She wrote: “I congratulate Liz Truss on being elected our new leader and will give her my support as our new Prime Minister. It is my choice to continue my public service to the country and the Witham constituency from the back benches once Liz formally assumes office and a new Home Secretary is appointed.
“From the back benches, I will champion many of the policies and causes that I have stood for both inside and outside of Government.”
Ms Patel was appointed Home Secretary by Boris Johnson in July 2019 and described it as an “honour” to deliver reform to the police, “stand up for the hard-working law abiding majority,” reform the immigration system and fight terrorism.
She added: “Britain has always been a beacon for freedom and democracy and I have been proud to work with you over the last three years to make that light shine brighter.
“All this has been achieved despite the relentless efforts of our political opponents and Left-wing activists, lawyers and campaigners.”
Ms Patel has overseen a 20,000 uplift in police officers, and the introduction of tougher sentences, as well as giving police new powers to fight knife crime, combat illegal protests and crack down on drugs and county lines gangs. However, she has also seen a surge in the number of illegal migrants reaching the UK across the Channel, which this weekend passed 27,000, double the rate of last year.
She has yet to see the Rwanda asylum policy take effect after being stalled by legal challenges over the removal of migrants.
In his letter to Mr Johnson, Mr Adams wrote: “Since you announced your intention to stand down I have spoken to many constituents and it is clear to me that those who sought your demise do not understand the values and aspirations of those voters who put their trust in the Conservative Party for the first time in 2019. One thing for sure is that there has never been a dull moment along the way and I am honoured to call you my friend.”
Announcing his resignation, Mr Elliot, the Eton-educated nephew of the Duchess of Cornwall, said it had been a “huge honour and privilege” to serve the party. “I would like to thank Boris Johnson for appointing me, and wish Liz Truss every success in leading our great country,” he said.