Priti Patel has been appointed employment minister in David Cameron’s new cabinet whilst Sajid Javid, the son of a bus driver is the new business secretary.
Patel’s new role as minister of state for employment at the Department for Work and Pensions means she will be attending cabinet
meetings for the first time.
Javid, a former banker will be more comfortable in his new remit after serving as culture secretary for one year.
He studied economics and politics at Exeter University and is one of the few people on the frontbench of the Commons who has risen from such humble beginnings.
In his reshuffle, Cameron also restored one of his most outspoken and combative allies to a leading cabinet role by naming Michael Gove as justice secretary.
Gove, one of the panellists who took part in an Eastern Eye hustings last month at the Maffair Hotel in central London was last year shunted into the role of chief whip, responsible for keeping party members in line. It was seen as a demotion from his previous role as education secretary.
Cameron’s Downing Street office confirmed Gove’s appointment and also said Chris Grayling, the previous justice secretary, would now be leader of the House of Commons, a cabinet job that involves supervising the government’s legislative agenda.
Nicky Morgan, Gove’s successor as education secretary, remains in that role, while former junior minister for work and pensions Mark Harper will replace Gove as chief whip, Downing Street said.
One of the most radical figures in Cameron’s Conservative party, Gove drove education reform by encouraging the creation of “free schools”, directly funded by government but independent of local councils unlike other state schools.
He is seen by the Conservative leadership as a brave and visionary reformer, but his education program was far from universally popular.
Many in the teaching profession objected, and his flagship free schools policy has drawn criticism that it diverted state funding to places that did not need it the most.
Gove’s abrasive style also stirred controversy and last year’s reshuffle sparked speculation that he might have been seen as a liability in the run-up to an election.
Cameron’s surprisingly clear victory in Thursday’s vote has paved the way for him to make new ministerial appointments from Conservative ranks, as he is no longer reliant on his former Liberal Democrat coalition partners.
He reappointed George Osborne as his finance minister on Friday and gave him a bigger cabinet role after Britain’s economic recovery helped their party to an unexpectedly big election victory.