The Daily Telegraph

Sunak allies given jobs in olive branch from PM

After the initial Cabinet cull, Liz Truss reaches out with ministeria­l positions for rival’s supporters


LIZ TRUSS handed out a string of middle-ranking jobs to prominent Rishi Sunak supporters as she attempted to hold out an olive branch to the defeated camp.

Robert Jenrick, a high-profile backer of the former chancellor for the Tory leadership, was made a minister in the Department of Health and Social Care.

Fellow Sunak supporter Mark Spencer was handed a role in the Department for Environmen­t, Food and Rural Affairs.

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

Ms Truss faced some criticism on Tuesday night when she sacked a series of Mr Sunak’s supporters from the Cabinet, prompting fears she was uninterest­ed in bringing the Conservati­ve Party together.

Among those to be dispatched to the back benches were Dominic Raab, the former deputy prime minister; Grant Shapps, the former transport secretary; George Eustice, the former environmen­t secretary and Steve Barclay, the former health secretary.

Mr Sunak himself was not offered a position, even though he had received 43 per cent of the vote – more than any of the second-placed candidates to the Tory leader since members were given a say in 1998.

Only one member appointed to her Cabinet – Michael Ellis, the new Attorney General – had thrown his weight behind Mr Sunak’s campaign.

All the senior positions went to supporters such as Thérèse Coffey, one of Ms Truss’s closest friends in Whitehall, who was made Deputy Prime Minister as well as Health Secretary. Long-term ally Kwasi Kwarteng was promoted to the Treasury to fill Mr Sunak’s old job of Chancellor. And James Cleverly was given the position of Foreign Secretary.

The announceme­nts prompted Tory MPS who backed Mr Sunak to point out that he had come top in the Westminste­r stage of the contest, and even in the Tory member vote he did better than any past challenger to the eventual victor.

They warned it would be impossible to guarantee unity in the party without giving some roles to prominent Sunak

‘It’s right we now unite behind the new PM as she steers the country through difficult times’

supporters. During the campaign, Mr Jenrick, who served as housing secretary from 2019 to 2021, 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.

On Monday he tweeted after Ms Truss’s victory was announced: “Congratula­tions Liz Truss on becoming Leader of the Conservati­ve Party. Her success is our party and our country’s success. I will be rooting for her.”

But, in an interview with his local newspaper, the Newark Advertiser, he issued a warning, saying: “I hope she reaches out across the Conservati­ve Party and tries to unite us and build a strong and talented team. Boris made the mistake of only appointing acolytes and it didn’t work.”

It appeared that yesterday the new Prime Minister had listened, and Mr Jenrick was offered Minister of State in the health department.

Mr Spencer, who was chief whip and then leader of the Commons under Mr Johnson, had 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 her “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”.

Meanwhile, hardline Brexiteer Steve Baker was last night 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.

Despite ignoring Mr Sunak, Ms Truss gave senior roles to the other leadership candidates – Penny Mordaunt, Kemi Badenoch, Tom Tugendhat, Suella Braverman and Nadhim Zahawi.

On Monday, the former chancellor called for Tory MPS to unite behind Ms Truss. He tweeted: “Thank you to everyone who voted for me in this campaign. I’ve said throughout that the Conservati­ves are one family.

“It’s right we now unite behind the new PM, Liz Truss, as she steers the country through difficult times.”

In an interview with the BBC, he indicated that he did not expect to be offered a job in Ms Truss’s Cabinet. However, he said he would remain as an MP and would stand at the next election.

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