Thu. Jul 25th, 2024
alert-–-rishi-sunak-appoints-‘interim’-shadow-cabinet-as-tory-chair-ric-holden-and-lord-cameron-quit-after-disastrous-election-meltdown…-with-infighting-between-left-and-right-wings-ramping-upAlert – Rishi Sunak appoints ‘interim’ shadow Cabinet as Tory chair Ric Holden and Lord Cameron quit after disastrous election meltdown… with infighting between left and right wings ramping up

Rishi Sunak moved to appoint an ‘interim’ shadow Cabinet tonight after the Tories’ disastrous election meltdown.

The party leader, who is staying on until a replacement is chosen, acted as shellshocked MPs try to come to terms with the scale of their defeat.

Party chairman Richard Holden has quit in recognition of his role in the carnage, while Lord Cameron has also stepped down as shadow foreign secretary.

Richard Fuller – former economic secretary to the Treasury – has taken Mr Holden’s place while Andrew Mitchell will shadow the foreign affairs brief.

Jeremy Hunt and James Cleverly are staying in their roles as shadow chancellor and home secretary respectively.

Mr Sunak himself was not quoted speaking about the overhaul, unveiled in a press release from CCHQ, as infighting gathers pace between Conservative factions on how to respond to Labour’s landslide and the threat from Reform. 

· Shadow Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Oliver Dowden

· Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer: Jeremy Hunt

· Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs: Andrew Mitchell

· Shadow Home Secretary: James Cleverly

· Shadow Secretary of State for Defence: James Cartlidge

· Shadow Secretary of State for Justice: Ed Argar

· Shadow Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology: Andrew Griffith

· Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary: Victoria Atkins

· Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities: Kemi Badenoch

· Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Steve Barclay

· Shadow Leader of the House of Commons: Chris Philp

· Shadow Leader of the House of Lords: Lord True

· Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Trade: Kevin Hollinrake

· Shadow Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero: Claire Coutinho

· Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions: Mel Stride

· Shadow Secretary of State for Education: Damian Hinds

· Shadow Secretary of State for Transport: Helen Whately

· Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport: Julia Lopez

· Shadow Attorney General: Jeremy Wright

· Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: Alex Burghart

· Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland: John Lamont

· Shadow Secretary of State for Wales: Lord Davies of Gower

· Opposition Chief Whip: Stuart Andrew

· Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Laura Trott

· Shadow Paymaster General: John Glen

· Shadow Security Minister: Tom Tugendhat

· Shadow Veterans Minister: Andrew Bowie

· Shadow Women and Equalities: Mims Davies

The Tory civil war is ramping up today as the Right blames moderates for putting ‘Suicide Sunak’ in charge of the party. 

Tensions have been rising between surviving MPs with potential successors including Suella Braverman, Priti Patel, Robert Jenrick and Tom Tugendhat circling.

But splits are already emerging among the 121-strong rump in the Commons over how to recover and counter the threat from Nigel Farage’s Reform, amid warnings that a ‘battle for the soul’ of the party is under way.

Rishi Sunak has said he will stay in post while the party decides on a replacement, with some senior figures arguing that the process should be strung out for six months to ‘scrutinise’ candidates. 

Right-wingers fear that they fared worse in the wipeout, and moderates will try to push the party to the centre instead of trying to woo back voters who defected to Reform.  

The first clash looks set to be over who will take charge of the powerful 1922 committee. Veteran MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has sent a letter to colleagues putting himself forward to be the chair.

But one MP told : ‘That is a cheek considering Clifton-Brown was one of the principal architects of the 1922 Committee-inspired ‘coup’ which put Suicude Sunak into power, without a mandate, in the first place.’

They said the One Nation bloc had ‘learned nothing’.

‘Even after a massive defeat, they simply don’t get it,’ the MP said.

‘Winning the chairmanship of the ’22 is obviously intended to pave the way for another stitch up over the leadership – just like with Sunak.

‘I have slogged my guts out for six weeks, to return to this.’

It is not yet clear who will be the Right’s candidate for the 1922 job. 

Meanwhile, there is a building debate over how the party should select a new leader. 

One former Cabinet minister told : ‘It is not exactly a ‘galaxy of stars’ to choose from but let’s hope it is a long race so they can all be scrutinised.’ 

Ex-minister George Freeman told the BBC’s Westminster Hour that the contest should last for six months.

‘I think it’s really important that we don’t rush into a leadership contest now,’ he said. 

‘We have an honest six months real appraisal of all the different voter groups we lost and why – not ‘what did Boris do wrong?’ or ‘what did Liz Truss do wrong?’ – but ‘what are the voter groups we lost?’ 

‘I’d like this party conference to be a serious conference of renewal for ourselves and to ask those questions honestly.

‘And then a leadership contest afterwards.’

However, Lord Brady, who was 1922 chair until he stepped down at the election, said the party had a ‘duty’ to be an effective opposition.

‘It’s a judgement call as to how quickly the whole process should conclude and there are those who say we should have a very big debate, that might go on for several months,’ he said. 

‘There is also a very important duty to bear in mind, to provide His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition – so we do need to make sure we can provide that effective opposition quite quickly.’ 

Tory MP Danny Kruger told the BBC that he ‘honoured’ Mr Farage’s role on Brexit, but the party should not be seeking an alliance with Reform.

‘I think we need to see how things develop. It’s quite clear that no, we should not be in any sort of formal alliance with them or making any kind of overtures to them as individuals and politicians,’ he said.

‘They’ve stood on a different ticket to us, they want to replace us as the party of opposition – we can’t have that. What we do need to do is be extremely respectful of their voters, understand why it is that so many people have supported them in such high numbers.’

‘I honour the record of some Reform politicians, Nigel Farage most of all, for what he’s done. But I don’t believe we should be seeking any kind of accommodation with him – because he doesn’t want it for a start – and it’s not the right way to bring our whole Conservative family back together.’

 

In other changes announced by Mr Sunak, Ms Badenoch has become shadow levelling-up secretary, following Michael Gove standing down.

Kevin Hollinrake will shadow Ms Badenoch’s former Business Secretary post and Mims Davies becomes shadow women and equalities minister.

Mr Fuller said in a statement: ‘The Conservative Party has had a difficult election and it is important that we regroup and reflect on these results. We should also challenge ourselves candidly and deeply on the strengths of the Conservative Party across the country and outline where improvements can be made.

‘I am honoured to be asked to act as interim chairman of the Conservative Party and to be working alongside colleagues in the shadow cabinet.

‘United as a party we will be ready and able to hold this new Labour government to account every step of the way.’

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