Who’s who in the new Theresa May cabinet and what they’ve said about Scotland

Nathanael Williams

New prime minister Theresa May builds new cabinet including both Remainers and Brexiters

THE new UK cabinet took shape yesterday with a flurry of new appointments to the top positions in Whitehall as the Conservative government looked to established a new team to face the poltical chaos caused by the Brexit vote. 

Chancellor of the exchequer: Philip Hammond, 60 

Hammond has been named chancellor of the exchequer having previously been foreign secretary under David Cameron from 2014 to 2016. 

Prior to his new appointment replacing George Osborne, he also held the offices in defence and transport. 

He campaigned in the recent EU referendum for Remain but was previously banned from campaigning in Scotland by senior Better Together organisers.

What they said about Scotland:

On Scotland’s White Paper defence proposals, he was quoted in his Ministry of Defence (MoD) reply calling them “engaged in a most irresponsible proposition”.

Foreign secretary: Boris Johnson, 52

The former London mayor will succeeded Hammond at the Foreign Office. 

He headed the campaign for the UK to leave the European Union (EU) and afterwards found himself out of the running for Tory leader and prime minister after apparently being betrayed by fellow brexiter Michael Gove.

He has no previous ministerial or departmental experience and is known for his political faux pas on the international stage including calling Hillary Clinton a “demented nurse”, and referring to Barack Obama, the president of the US, as “a part Kenyan with a ancestral hatred of the British Empire”.

He has also written poetry using offensive language towards the President of Turkey as well as notoriously referring to black people as ‘picannies’ with ‘watermelon smiles’.

What they said about Scotland:

“They are asking them to say ‘no’ to one of the oldest and most successful political unions in history.

“The Salmond campaign is not a manifesto for creation, but for destruction”.


Home secretary: Amber Rudd, 52 

A Remain campaigner, she was energy and climate change secretary for just one year before now having taken Theresa May’s old job.

A former investment banker with J. P. Morgan, venture capitalist and financial journalist, she also has ties to the landed aristocracy with her late stepfather holding the peerage of Marquess Conynghim, a prominent aristocratic landowning family of Co. Meath and Donegal.

It was Amber Rudd who cut support for renewable power sources like solar energy, dismantling 11 years' worth of low-carbon policies.

In a leaked letter to the Treasury in 2015, UK energy secretary Rudd said that the UK would fail to meet an EU obligation to deliver 15 per cent of energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020 and suggested that in order to meet the target, the Treasury would support renewable energy projects in other EU countries.

What they said about Scotland:

After taking a year to visit Aberdeen, Europe’s energy capital, she said she would make “no apologies” for the delay. On top of this, she said: “I feel that what matters most to people is not who comes where, but what you’re actually doing to help people in jobs and businesses.”

Defence secretary: Michael Fallon, 64

Born in Perth, Fallon campaigned for Remain and has kept his job at the Ministry of Defence, a post he has held since 2014.

Fallon was a director of Bannatyne Fitness before entering parliament, as well as holding directorships of other businesses including nursing homes, nurseries and financial transactions. 

He started his career during Margaret Thatcher’s tenure, and previously served as energy and business minister, and before that secretary of state for business and enterprise.

He is known as a firm defender of the Trident nuclear missile system, and for having to apologise to Suliman Gani over suggesting the imam was a supporter of Isis. 

What they said about Scotland:

“The separatists have no answers to the most basic questions about independence, like what currency Scotland would use and how it could belong to the Nato alliance.”

“The choice is clear cut: a leap into the unknown with a Yes vote, or a brighter future for Scotland by voting No.”

Secretary of state for exiting the EU: David Davis, 67

David Davis, another leading Brexiter, has been appointed to a newly-created cabinet position of secretary of state for exiting the European Union – or "Brexit secretary". 

Mr Davis who has suggested that Article 50 should be triggered by the end of the year, will have the responsibility of leading negotiations for Britain's departure from the EU and unpicking the thousands of pages of EU rules written into UK law.

What they said about Scotland:

A big driver of English votes for English laws (Evel) after the 2014 Scottish referendum he said: “We have a whole series of Bills going through the House now, which will not apply to Scotland – should Scottish MPs have a say on these matters? Someone has to draw a line.”

Secretary of state for international trade: Liam Fox, 54 

A big hitter of the Leave campaign, Liam Fox has taken on another newly-created position as secretary of state for international trade. 

Born in East Kilbride, he was made secretary of state for defence in 2010 but resigned in 2011 over allegations he had given a close friend, lobbyist Adam Werritty, access to the Ministry of Defence and allowed him to join official trips overseas.

A Eurosceptic, he is also a passionate supporter of The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and closer economic and political ties between the UK and US.

Instrumental in reconciling the Cameron and Bush adminstrations, he was the UK director and founding member of The Atlantic Bridge, a UK-based charity that aims to preserve and “promote the Special Relationship”.

The Atlantic Bridge closed down in October 2011 after being told to cease activities by the Charity Commission for “promoting a political policy that is closely associated with the Conservative party”.

What they said about Scotland:

On London Live TV, Fox said that the Scottish Independence referendum had “given licence to xenophobia”.

Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities: Justine Greening, 47 

Justine Greening was appointed Secretary of State for International Development in September 2012. She served as Secretary of State for Transport from 2011-2012, and Economic Secretary to the Treasury in 2010.

Prior to her political career she trained as an accountant, working for Price Waterhouse Coopers, GalxoSmithKline and Centrica

What they said about Scotland?

She is quoted as having said that “world’s poorest people” would suffer from a Yes vote.


Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor: Elizabeth Truss, 40 

Formerly the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs she is the first ever female lord chancellor.

Once a member of CND and the Oxford Liberal Democrats she founded the Free Enterprise Group of Conservative MPs who call for market reform in education and health. 

She has also co-authored the political work Britannia Unchained in 2012 calling for widespread privatisation.

What they said about Scotland?

“It is clear, Brexit poses a huge threat to Scotland’s whisky industry”.


Pictures courtesy of Defence ImagesBritish High Commission, Hammersmith and Fulham College, Department of Energy and Climate Change, English PEN, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Michael Garnett

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