Week in Westminster

Published: 16 June 2017 | Author: Michelle Vosper

Last week’s General Election resulted in a hung Parliament with the Conservatives as the largest party. Since then the prime minister has been attempting to finalise a confidence and supply arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). This is expected to be announced prior to the Queen’s speech now scheduled for Wednesday 21 June. Meanwhile the UK government and EU Commission have announced that formal Brexit negotiations will start on Monday.

Theresa May’s government reshuffle is now complete. There were no changes to the most senior ministers within the Cabinet, but the following positions were confirmed:

  • First Secretary of State, and Minister for the Cabinet Office – Damian Green.
  • Lord Chancellor; and Secretary of State for Justice – Dr David Lidington.
  • Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – Michael Gove.
  • Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – David Gauke.
  • Chief Secretary to the Treasury – Elizabeth Truss.
  • Lord President of the Council, and Leader of the House of Commons – Andrea Leadsom Minister of State (for Immigration), Home Office – Brandon Lewis.

Other Treasury appointments include Mel Stride as financial secretary, Andrew Jones at exchequer secretary, and Stephen Barclay as economic secretary.

At the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Alok Sharma is the new minister of state for housing and planning.  While the former housing minister Gavin Barwell has taken on the role of chief of staff in No 10 after he lost his Croydon Central seat at the General Election.

Labour responded to the government reshuffle with a mini one of their own:

  • Tom Watson is no longer Labour Party chair, but remains in post as deputy leader and shadow culture secretary.
  • Form leadership contender Owen Smith is now shadow Northern Ireland secretary.
  • Newly elected Lesley Laird is shadow Scotland secretary.
  • Andrew Gwynne replaces Grahame Morris as shadow CLG secretary.
  • Dawn Butler is shadow minister for diverse communities.
  • Ian Lavery is Labour Party chair and co-national campaign co-ordinator.

As for the other political parties, Ian Blackford was elected the SNP Westminster group leader, and Kirsty Blackman will service as his deputy.

And LibDem leader Tim Farron has resigned saying that “remaining faithful to Christ” had become incompatible with leading the party. Farron will serve until the summer recess, when the party will hold a contest to select someone to replace him.