Political Promise

The Coalition Cabinet

David Cameron Prime Minister Leader of the Conservative Party since 2005, MP for Witney, Oxfordshire since 2001. A lot is often made of his Eton and Oxford background, but Cameron brings a modern update of one-nation ‘compassionate’ conservatism, that has social justice and community – the “big society”- at its core. His wife, Samantha, is pregnant, and the child will be only the second legitimate child born to a current Prime Minister in 160 years. Cameron is the youngest Prime Minister since 1812, and is left-handed, along with Einstein, Obama and a certain editor of Political Promise…

Nick Clegg Deputy Prime Minister Leader of the Liberal Democrats since 2007, just two years after becoming MP for Sheffield Hallam. Was previously an MEP, although is widely known to have more global life experience than the other two main opponents in the election. He led the Liberal Democrats to the first coalition government since World War Two, putting aside politics in “the national interest”. His core beliefs are in civil liberties, tolerance and humanitarianism. He is a public atheist, but has publicly stated he has “respect for those who have faith”.

George Osbourne Chancellor of the Exchequer After four years as Shadow Chancellor, only Gordon Brown has more experience of working first-hand with the economy within the House of Commons. MP for Tatton since 2001, Osbourne is a close ally of Cameron’s; they are the godfathers of each other’s children.  He has often advocated a “flatter, simpler, fairer” tax system, and will seek to put this into place in government.

William Hague Foreign Secretary Leading the party through disastrous electoral defeat in 2001, Hague was catapulted back to Tory front benches in 2005 when Cameron assumed power of the party. An MP for Richmond, Yorkshire since 1989, he is famous for his appearance at the Conservative party conference aged just 16 in 1977, where he warned party members to be concerned about the debt crisis Britain faced: “Half of you won’t be here in 30 years time.” He acted as the Conservative Party’s negotiator over the past week, and is often cited as the party’s ‘elder statesman’.

Theresa May Home Secretary, Minister for Women In a shock appointment, especially to Chris Grayling who held the position in opposition, Theresa May has become the highest ranking female politician in the UK. As an MP for Maidenhead since 1997, she has held many positions in opposition, including Work and Pensions, Women, Schools, Transport, Environment and was the party chairman between 2002 and 2003. Before becoming an MP, she worked in the Bank of England, and also sat as a councillor in the London Borough of Merton.

Ken Clarke Justice Secretary, Lord Chancellor One of the Conservative Party’s key liberal figures, he has consistently pushed for fuller European integration, and is the Chairman of the progressive centre-right grouping of the party the Tory Reform Group. He was a minister throughout the Premierships of Thatcher and Major, and was reappointed in January 2009 to Cameron’s shadow cabinet, to dispel criticisms of the party’s economic credibility and in a role directly opposite Peter Mandelson. He is a lover of motor racing, cigars and real ale.

Vince Cable Business Secretary “The Storm”, a book that predicted the global financial crisis, catapulted Cable to prominence. As Liberal Democrat MP for Twickenham since 1997, and the party’s chief economic spokesman and deputy leader, Cable will focus on business, innovation and skills. Besides politics, he has gone on record to say he would love to take part in BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Michael Gove Schools Secretary Another of Cameron’s closest allies, Gove previously wrote for newspapers and magazines before becoming MP for Surrey Heath in 2005. Aberdeen born and bred; he was rejected from a job in the Conservative Research Department in his teens ‘for being insufficiently Conservative’. He and Cameron were the masterminds behind the 2005 Conservative election manifesto, and is the driving force behind the radical Swedish-model “free elective” education system reforms, one of the government’s top priorities over the next five years.

Liam Fox Defence Secretary One of eight ministers keeping their porfolios they held in opposition, Fox has been the Shadow Defence Minister since 2005, and represented Woodspring since 1992, now MP for North Somerset, a newly created constituency. A fully qualified doctor, according to The Sun newspaper, he once dated Natalie Imbruglia. He is a proponent of the “special relationship” with America, and came third in the 2005 leadership race.

Chris Huhne Energy and Climate Change Secretary His seat of Eastleigh was one of the Conservative’s top targets, but Liberal Democrat Huhne was returned with a trebled majority. Formerly an MEP and business economist, he has keenly advocated “green taxation”. He was the Environment Spokesman from 2006-2007, and is one of the top-ranking Liberal Democrats in Parliament, defeated only by Nick Clegg in the 2007 Lib Dem leadership contest.

Andrew Lansley Health Secretary MP for South Cambs since 1997, Lansley was Shadow Health Secretary for six years. During this time, he championed reform of the NHS, based on efficiency and privatising the poorly-run elements, not just the debt, as was done by PFI under New Labour. He masterminded the 1992 succesful Conservative general election campaign, and is an Essex boy, born and bred.

Iain Duncan Smith Work and Pensions Secretary With nearly twenty years experience as MP for Chingford, IDS is perhaps unfairly known for his nondescript two-year leadership of the Conservative Party. In his seven years in relative political backbench wilderness, he set up the Centre for Social Justice, a right-wing progressive think-tank. Upon review of his novel he wrote in 2003, Sam Leith of The Daily Telegraphdeclared it ‘terrible, terrible, terrible…”

Jeremy Hunt Culture, Media, Olympic and Sport Secretary Incorporating his portfolio he held in opposition, with Tessa Jowell’s Olympics role, Hunt comes into government as one of ‘Thatcher’s children’, joining the party during her premiership. He has represented South West Surrey since 2005, he is a fan of Japanese culture, having spending two years as an English teacher in Japan. He is active in local campaigns, as he is a rare MP who grew up in his constituency.

Phillip Hammond Transport Secretary MP for Runnymede and Weybridge since 1997, Hammond has had interests in business since leaving university. His career is diverse: has been a director of an electronic company and adviser to the Malawi government. Originally hailing from Epping, North-East London, he was shadow treasury secretary for three years, and had previously opposed the Ministry of Work and Pensions. He has now been given the transport portfolio, he has said he will stop spending on new speed cameras, although he had previously been accused by Kelvin MacKenzie of “not [being] interested in the downtrodden local motorist”.

Eric Pickles Communities and Local Government Minister Steering the party through the succesful election campaign as Party Chairman, the Brentwood and Ongar MP since 1992 has been involved in local government since his election to Bradford Council in 1979. He was the Shadow Minister for Local Government from 2002 and 2009, before taking on the chairmanship role. Now in government, he is to target council ‘fat cats’, most of whom earning more than the Prime Minister. On Question Time amid the expenses scandal, he told David Dimbleby he “had to be there [the House of Commons] on time”, to which Dimbleby replied “Like a job, in other words?”

Caroline Spelman Environment, Food and Rurul Affairs Minister MP for Meriden since 1997, Spelman has a career history in farming and food technology that she brings to her heading of DEFRA. Having served as Party Chairman from 2007-2009, she has served on the Conservative front benches since 2001. She came under fire for her use of Parliamentary staff allowance, paying a ‘Constituency Secretary’ for nannying services, and her husband stood as a Conservative candidate in the European elections in the summer of 2009.

Andrew Mitchell Secretary of State for International Development MP for Sutton Coldfield since 2001, having previously represented Gedling for ten years before losing the seat in 1997. He is one of the few Cabinet members to have studied at Cambridge, as most are Oxford PPE alumni. His father, David, was also an MP. He has shadowed DfID since 2005, and is one of three ministry budgets ring-fenced by the incoming Cameroonian administration.

Michael Moore Scottish Secretary The Member of Parliament for Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk replaced Danny Alexander as Scottish Secretary following the resignation of David Laws. He represents Lord Steel’s old constituency, and has been Deputy Leader for the Scottish Liberal Democrats since 2002. He has a penchant for local rugby.

Owen Paterson Northern Ireland Secretary Conservative MP for North Shropshire since 1997, he is another Cabinet minister who is carrying on in government a portfolio he held in Opposition. He has a history in the leather industry, as a former President of the European Tanner’s Confederation. He speaks fluent French and German, yet is a self-proclaimed ‘Eurosceptic’.

Cheryl Gillan Welsh Secretary Tory MP for Chesham and Amersham since 1992, the Cardiff-born former marketing executive had been Shadow Wales minister since 2005. She has served as a junior minister in education before, and in foreign affairs, judicial and international development positions in opposition. She is a Freeman of the City of London, although this chicken-lover knows that it is only sheep can walk through the City with the special priveleges that brings.

Danny Alexander Treasury Secretary The Liberal Democrat negotiator in this coalition deal, the Inverness East MP since 2005, replaced David Laws as Treasury Secretary – the Chancellor’s right-hand-man – just three weeks into the coalition.. He was a member of the Scotland Affairs Committee for three years, and was a member of the Britain in Europe campaign. His wife, Rebecca, is an editor of Psychologies magazine. At the age of 37, he is the youngest member of Cameron’s cabinet.

Lord Tom Strathclyde Leader of the House of Lords, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster First entering the House of Lords in 1986, he is one of 92 hereditary peers that remained after the 1999 House of Lords Act. His father, Tam Galbraith was an MP until his death in 1982. Strathclyde is alumni of the University of East Anglia, and was voted Channel 4 Peer of the Year in 2000, as the leader of the Conservatives in the House of Lords.

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi Party Chairman As the first female Muslim to sit in the Cabinet, Lady Warsi is a second-generation immigrant from Pakistan. Upon entering Number 10 she declared: “To be born as the daughter of an immigrant mill worker in a mill town in Yorkshire, to have the privilege of serving in Cabinet at such an important time in Britain’s history, I think it is terribly humbling,” Having failed in an attempt to represent Dewbury in Parliament, she was given a working peerage of the town in 2007, as Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion. Along with fellow cabinet member Chris Huhne, appeared on the controversial Question Time with Nick Griffin.

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