Sunak has limited upheaval, Hunt insists after Cabinet ‘turbulence’
Jeremy Hunt has admitted the Cabinet has faced “turbulence” with a high turnover of ministers in recent years – but insisted Rishi Sunak has limited the upheaval.
The Chancellor said this week’s mini reshuffle, with the Prime Minister’s allies Grant Shapps and Claire Coutinho given new roles, was caused by former defence secretary Ben Wallace’s “personal decision” to step down.
Appearing on Sky News’s Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips programme, Hunt was quizzed on the leadership churn in recent years.
“One Cabinet minister who’s not even in the Cabinet any more (Nadhim Zahawi) had nine jobs. This is a higher turnover of even a Premier League manager,” the presenter said.
Mr Hunt replied: “We have had turbulence caused by things like (the) pandemic, big changes in our economic model.
“But what I would say is since Rishi Sunak has become Prime Minister that has changed. He has made only the most limited changes.”
The appointment of Mr Shapps, one of Mr Sunak’s closest Cabinet allies, to Defence Secretary – his fifth Cabinet role in a year – was seen a slight reset ahead of the next general election.
Some expect a wider reshuffle in the coming months.
But the shake-up extended beyond the Cabinet after Mr Sunak’s top spin doctor, Amber de Botton, quit less than a year into the job.
Writing on Twitter, now known as X, she thanked the Prime Minister but said “No 10 is a demanding and high pressure place to work”.
Mr Sunak’s press secretary Nerissa Chesterfield is understood to be taking over.
On Thursday, it was also announced that UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin will step down from his job after three years to become the PM’s new director of strategy.
The mini reshuffle followed four ministerial departures over a series of complaints about their conduct earlier in Mr Sunak’s tenure.
Most recently, longstanding Boris Johnson ally Zac Goldsmith quit as a minister, accusing the Prime Minister of being “uninterested” in the environment, shortly after being found to have undermined a parliamentary inquiry into the former prime minister.
Mr Zahawi was sacked after ethics adviser Sir Laurie Magnus ruled that the former Conservative Party chairman failed to declare an investigation into his tax returns, while former justice secretary Dominic Raab resigned after a bullying probe.
Earlier, Sir Gavin Williamson was forced to quit as a Cabinet Office minister over a series of abusive messages to the chief whip.
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