Some of the choices made by our New Prime Minister as she assembled her Cabinet over the last few days are already showing signs of strain which is of concern to many people including myself. Perhaps more importantly, these problems risk further damaging the reputation we have across Europe and beyond, at a time when we need to strengthen this. Whilst Theresa May is entitled, like all of us to make mistakes, at least 3 of the top jobs seem to be a rather poor fit for the people that have been appointed. Ultimately each of these will have an impact on the Nation as a whole, irrespective of how much embarrassment Ms May and her colleagues feel they can withstand domestically while Labour are going through their own difficulties.
The promotion of Andrea Leadsom to the role of Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is a step up for this previous leadership contender who conveniently for Ms May stepped aside before the competition got properly underway. Ms Leadsom previously lost her temper with some of her fellow MPs when they quizzed her over the Government’s decision to end the renewables obligation subsidy a year earlier than planned. I wrote about this earlier on in the year. Her sceptical attitude towards wind farms and renewable energy subsidies is also a matter of historical record. If she was destined for a more important role, then surely finding her a post in the Treasury would have made much more sense than a step up in a Department in which she had already shown great signs of weakness.
Then we have Liz Truss who has taken on the role at the Ministry of Justice half way through reforms that Michael Gove was instigating. Reforms which many people including myself felt were a large improvement over the actions of Chris Grayling whose decisions over the reform of probation have already proven catastrophic. Unfortunately Ms Truss lacks any experience in the area of law and order and it is evident that her colleagues appear to lack confidence in her capabilities as a number of experienced colleagues refused to serve under her.
Finally we have Boris Johnson whose humiliation at the hands of journalists in the last few days have left all of us aware of how poorly suited he is to the vital role of Foreign Secretary. The challenge for Theresa May is that whatever role Boris took on, he would have brought a lot of baggage with him. However this role is so sensitive in terms of its International role, that there is far too much risk of damage.
All of these roles carry reputational risks for Theresa May and our nation as a whole. All three of these appointments appear to be deeply flawed.