British Prime Minister David Cameron has chosen who will make up his new cabinet. While some familiar faces remain, some hardline Conservative allies replace the seats vacated by old coalition partners the Lib Dems.
Newly re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron continued his cabinet reshuffle on Monday as his Conservative Party's unexpected majority win in the general election last Thursday has allowed him to form a single-party administration after five years of coalition government.
Cameron gave popular London Mayor Boris Johnson a role in his political cabinet on Monday, not quite a ministerial position but nevertheless a boost to Johnson. Despite having a year left in his mayoral term, Johnson sought and won election as a Conservative MP on Thursday.
Johnson, seen by some as Cameron's possible successor, accepted the invitation to attend the political cabinet - a meeting of the official cabinet plus several other prominent members of the political landscape.
On Sunday, Cameron restored one of his most outspoken and partisan allies to an important cabinet role, appointing Michael Gove justice secretary. After serving as education secretary, last year Gove was shunted sideways into the chief whip position in the House of Commons.
Michael Gove's "demotion" to whip was seen by some as a way to remove the combative politician from the public eye before the election.
Gove publicly clashed with Home Secretary Theresa May last June over the handling of investigations into a potential Islamist threat in Birmingham schools.
Nicky Morgan, Gove's successor as education secretary, will retain her position, Downing Street said, as Cameron made a point to make sure women fill multiple roles in the cabinet.
Culture secretary critical of BBC
In line with Gove's appointment, the prime minister named the similarly outspoken John Whittingdale secretary for culture, media and sport. Whittingdale has made no secret of his distaste for the BBC, calling the annual license fee of 145.50 pounds ($225) per household "unsustainable" and "worse than the poll tax," referring to a highly unpopular Thatcher-era fee that led to massive riots in 1989.
Whittingdale has also criticized the broadcaster's "unforgivable pro-Labour bias," referring to the Conservative Party's main rivals, the BBC reported on Monday.
Despite some new faces, most of Cameron's appointments signal a continuation of the status quo. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, along with Theresa May, who also served in the first Cameron cabinet, will continue their roles.
Leverage for EU-renegotiation
As part of his outright win, Cameron used his victory speech on Thursday to reaffirm his party's promise to hold an in/out referendum on Britain's EU membership.
While current European Council President Donald Tusk was quick to say it was Cameron's duty to make the case for EU membership to his citizens, former European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso pointed out on Monday that Cameron is in a much stronger position now to renegotiate his nation's ties with the bloc.
Barroso said other European leaders would be willing to "accommodate some concerns and points made by Britain," but that certain points, like Cameron's idea to make EU migrants wait longer for welfare payments, could prove difficult to achieve.
es/msh (AP, Reuters)