Thursday , June 20 2024

My Dream Tory Cabinet

I’m backing Boris in the leadership election and for the purposes of this article am assuming that, as the polls suggest, he will win the membership vote. This post, however, is focused on the rest of the Cabinet – because a government is about much more than one person.

Prime Minister: Boris Johnson – the only candidate of the remaining two who can deliver Brexit by 31 October, openly champions conservative values and has the potential to win the next general election.

Chancellor: Liz Truss – a champion of the free market on the libertarian side of the party who stands up for personal liberties and freedom.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Dominic Raab – traditional Thatcherite Conservative.

Foreign Secretary: Rory Stewart – one of the most eloquent, thoughtful and considered MPs, with experience in Afghanistan and Iraq that makes him admirably suited to the role. Would not include responsibility for Brexit and would be conditional upon signing up to full collective responsibility on Brexit, including supporting No Deal Brexit if needed. Alternatively: Jeremy Hunt – the runner up in the leadership contest, a staunch globalist who has made a success of his time as Foreign Secretary to date.

Home Secretary: Sajid Javid – Javid has been a good Home Secretary so far, ditching the controversial ‘hostile environment’ policy while recognising that people want tough, effective action on crime.

Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Michael Gove – The duties of this role vary, but I’m taking it to be similar to the role occupied by Letwin, masterminding strategy and planning the legislative programme. Gove is one of the shrewdest and most intelligent Conservative MPs, perfectly placed to shape strategic direction behind the scenes.

Defence Secretary: Penny Mordaunt – she’s only been in the role a short time, but Mordaunt appears to be capable and effective, while caring passionately about the armed forces.

Business Secretary: Jesse Norman – a champion of the free market, author of a book on Adam Smith, he’s just the person to champion British business and set it free of unnecessary regulation.

Justice Secretary/Lord Chancellor: Jacob Rees-Mogg – it’s past time for Rees-Mogg to have the chance to prove himself in a cabinet role and Justice, dealing with the courts and constitution, would suit his passion for archaic procedure. Would also be well-placed to address reform or repeal of the Human Rights Act. Alternative: former barrister Suella Braverman.

Education Secretary: Jo Johnson – Jo Johnson was a highly capable and effective higher education minister, pushing through major reforms which have already begun to bear fruit. I’d love to see him bedding in these, and Gove’s wider reforms, at Secretary of State level.

Health Secretary: Damian Hinds – Hinds has been a competent and save pair of hands at Education and would be well-placed to take the helm of the other major social policy department.

Work and Pensions Secretary: Suella Braverman – Braverman is one of the most principled and talented of the 2015 intake of MPs and has already had ministerial experience, before resigning in principle over Brexit. Firm conservative values combined with a modest family background make her well-suited to continue welfare reforms compassionately but firmly.

Transport Secretary: Grant Shapps – some constituency bias here, as Shapps is my local MP, but he has done fantastic work locally in holding the train companies to account for the shambolic timetable delivery last year and I’d love to see him do it at a national level. As a successful former minister and Party Chair, it’s past time he returned to that level.

Trade Secretary: Liam Fox – under Fox the Department of International Trade has been quietly but surely signing agreements for the continuation of trade for almost all of our major trading partners. This has been one of the unsung successes of the last three years and he should continue in the role. 

International Development Secretary: ABOLISHED. The department should be reabsorbed into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as it was before 1997.

Brexit Secretary: ABOLISHED. The department’s functions should be absorbed into the Cabinet Office until 31 October, when we leave the EU.

Defra Secretary: Johnny Mercer – Mercer is intelligent, principled and committed. I’d like to see him in cabinet and think he has the talents to succeed here.

Communities and Local Government Secretary: Priti Patel – Traditional Thatcherite Conservative who has often spoken out on economic reform and enterprise; has the boldness to take on Britain’s house-building challenge.

Culture Secretary: Esther McVey – Making use of her experience as a former journalist, McVey’s principles and values earn her a place in Cabinet. 

Attorney General: Geoffrey Cox – incredibly talented lawyer, gifted speaker and demonstrated his principles when he refused to deliver expedient messages for May on the Withdrawal Agreement.

Leader of the House of Commons: Steve Baker – Baker knows more about Parliamentary procedure than most and played a pivotal role in the Parliamentary tussles to deliver a fair Brexit referendum. This seems like a highly suitable role.

Scotland Secretary: David Mundell – An experienced politician with a background in business, Mundell to date has done a good job protecting UK interests while liaising with the SNP.

Wales Secretary: Alun Cairns – Cairns has done a good job in the role to date and should be given the opportunity to continue.

Northern Ireland Secretary: Tom Tugendhat – an excellent Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Tugendhat would understand the challenges of dealing with the tricky political issues that are involved in Northern Ireland.

Party Chair: James Cleverly – Cleverly is one of the party’s rising stars and his talents, energies and dynamism would be well suited to growing and reengaging with our membership base. 

A version of this post was originally published by the author on his personal blog:

About Iain Mansfield

Iain Mansfield is a former senior civil servant who worked extensively on trade, competition and higher education policy, including spending over two and a half years in Manila as Director of UK Trade & Investment for the Philippines. He was the winner of the Institute of Economic Affairs Brexit prize and a local councillor candidate for the Conservative Party. He writes in a personal capacity and his regular blog is at

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One comment

  1. Elizabeth Foster

    Agree apart from Theresa Villiers should be Northern Ireland Secretary
    Done the job before hugely respected by the Ulster People