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Thu, 1 October 2020

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Priti Patel set for frontbench comeback as Boris Johnson unveils 'Cabinet for modern Britain'

Priti Patel set for frontbench comeback as Boris Johnson unveils 'Cabinet for modern Britain'
2 min read

Boris Johnson has pledged to unveil a "Cabinet for modern Britain" as he prepares to take over as Prime Minister.

Allies of the new Conservative leader said he would appoint a "record number" of ethnic minority politicians and boost the number of women attending as full members of the Cabinet.

But the string of appointments comes amid reports that Mr Johnson's vanquished Tory leadership rival Jeremy Hunt is resisting being appointed as Defence Secretary, a move seen as a step down from his current role of Foreign Secretary.

Former International Development Secretary Priti Patel and current employment mnister Alok Sharma are expected to be appointed to the Cabinet when Mr Johnson takes over from Theresa May.

Ms Patel's Cabinet return would be mark a dramatic comeback after she was sacked by Theresa May in 2017 for breaching the ministerial code over unauthorised meetings with Israeli politicians.

The Times reports that Ms Patel is being lined up as Home Secretary, with the current occupant of that job, Sajid Javid, has been widely tipped to become Mr Johnson's Chancellor.

Meanwhile promotions are also in store for Tory rising stars Rishi Sunak, Oliver Dowden, Robert Jenrick and Tracey Crouch.

A source close to Mr Johnson said: "Boris will build a Cabinet showcasing all the talents within the party that truly reflect modern Britain."

Both Sky News and The Sun report that Mr Hunt - who was beaten by a margin of almost two to one - has rejected the chance to serve as Mr Johnson's Defence Secretary.

A source close to Mr Hunt told The Sun: "He won't accept a demotion."

Mr Johnson on Tuesday appointed Sherwood MP Mark Spencer - who backed Remain in the EU referendum - as his chief whip, tasked with marshalling the votes needed to get the new PM's programme through the House of Commons.

The incoming Prime Minister will formally take over from Theresa May at around 3:30pm, when he will be asked by the Queen to form a new government.

* Follow all the new ministerial appointments in the PoliticsHome liveblog

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