Who’s Top and Who’s Not for Rishi Sunak and The Conservative Party
Whitehouse Communications reviews ‘Who’s Top and Who’s Not’ as the new UK PM Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party juggles COP27, economic challenges and border problems.
One to keep a close eye on in Rishi Sunak’s ‘keep calm and carry on’ government is Robert Jenrick’s promotion to Minister for Immigration in the Home Office, a role that will allow him to attend cabinet meetings. Jenrick is an old friend of Sunak’s and was rewarded for his loyalty.
With the ongoing controversy around Suella Braverman’s appointment and actions as Home Secretary, Jenrick could be lined up for a future promotion if she is forced to resign…again. More on that later. But first, Jenrick will have to prove himself by balancing the conflicting objectives of working with Braverman to reduce illegal immigrations to the UK whilst also ensuring that the UK’s immigration policy allows for the economic growth that is essential for the Conservative economic project.
Sunak told MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) that he will attend the Cop27 climate change summit next week. Just last Friday, Sunak had said the opposite, stating he was “focusing on the depressing domestic challenges we have with the economy” rather than attending Cop27. A simple mistake to make but an entirely avoidable one, and Sunak’s life as PM is only about to get harder.
Depressing conversations are taking place in No. 10 and No. 11 Downing Street about restoring the public finances, and with the fiscal statement due on November 17, things are looking grim. With austere cuts to departmental budgets and a suspected limit to public sector pay rises, communicating these unpopular measures to the already aggravated electorate will be an immense challenge for Sunak and the Conservative Party.
After previously resigning from the post for breaching ministerial code, Braverman’s re-appointment hasn’t been smooth sailing. She has faced a backlash after comparing small boat crossings to an “invasion” whilst facing questions about her handling of overcrowding at the Manston migrant processing centre.
It is evident that Braveman needs to get a tight grip on the situation and quickly. As a key figure of the European Research Group authoritarian right, she is important to Sunak and will want to stay in her post. Furthermore, a substantial number of Tory MPs want a Home Secretary willing to challenge the critics and tighten immigration at the UK’s southern border. Further mis-steps could see Braverman resign, but that could lead to even more political headaches for Sunak.
The former Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced he will be heading down under to star on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of [Westminster]. It hasn’t gone down well. Having had the whip suspended only an hour after the announcement, he will return to Westminster as an Independent MP.
It seems an obvious lapse in judgement to jet set to Australia whilst his constituents struggle against the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis. Many have seen the move as deeply disrespectful. Hancock argues he will use the time to promote his dyslexia campaign and that politicians must “go where the people are” and not “sit in ivory towers in Westminster”. However, with his book due out in time for the Christmas rush, there could be other motivations for Hancock wanting to reach a wider audience.