In the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak tries to regain control by overhauling his government

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faces elected officials in the House of Commons in London on February 1, 2023.

Three months after his arrival at 10 Downing Street, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak carried out a first cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday, February 7, to try to establish his authority over a Conservative Party still as dissipated, draw a line under scandals inherited from the Boris Johnson era and improve the Tories’ (very slim) chances of staying in power in the next general election in 2024.

This train of appointments was expected: it was necessary to appoint a new party president after Rishi Sunak had to sack Nadhim Zahawi, a former minister of Boris Johnson and Liz Truss who had negotiated a huge tax adjustment with the tax administration, in the summer of 2022, when he was Minister of Finance, but who had concealed this inglorious episode from the media as well as from the Prime Minister.

It is Greg Hands, a discreet and experienced elected official, minister almost continuously since 2011, that Rishi Sunak chose. The sole task of this moderate – he voted to remain in the European Union (EU) in 2016 – will be to prepare the party for the general elections.

Rishi Sunak flanked him by a loud deputy: Lee Anderson, a defector from the Labor Party, ex-miner turned convinced Brexiter and elected Conservative in the Midlands in the 2019 elections. This typical “red wall” MP, these lands historically Labor converts to the right, is a supporter of an ultra-restrictive migration policy and often makes headlines in the tabloid press for his unfiltered remarks.

His appointment is likely to appease the Tory’s right wing, worried the Prime Minister is close to reaching a compromise with the EU on the “protocol”, the post-Brexit customs arrangement for Northern Ireland.

A gloomy economic situation

The Prime Minister took the opportunity to remodel his cabinet in accordance with his priorities: innovation and the economy. Grant Shapps, a faithful ex-Minister of Transport, inherits a new portfolio of “energy security and carbon neutrality”, testifying to a new interest of the British power for the industrial strategy and the security of its supply chains. ‘supply. Michelle Donelan swaps the ministry of culture for that of science, innovation and technology. Kemi Badenoch, a rising figure in the party, is promoted to a ministry of business and commerce.

With his discreet and managerial style, his capacity for work and his attention to detail (quite the opposite of Boris Johnson), Rishi Sunak managed to appease his party. But he has not yet taken it in hand: he preferred to back down at each start of the mutiny: he thus renounced the ban on terrestrial solar panels and accepted a tightening of the law regulating online content.

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