(Image source: UK Parliament)
Kemi Badenoch has been reappointed as international trade secretary in the new prime minister Rishi Sunak’s cabinet.
Badenoch, who supported Sunak in his latest leadership bid, has also been given the equalities brief in the latest cabinet reshuffle, according to Reuters.
‘Beyond trade deals’
Badenoch had been appointed as the trade secretary by Sunak’s predecessor, Liz Truss, in her first and only cabinet in September.
In her initial weeks on the job, Badenoch stressed the importance of moving “beyond trade deals”.
“Trade deals are like the motorway,” she said at a GB News Q&A event during the Conservative Party Conference. “It is fantastic when you get them built. But if cars aren’t going back and forth, then you might as well not have built them. The going back and forth are the exports and investments.”
She also emphasised the importance of relations with both the US and the 11 member states in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Director general of the IOE&IT, Marco Forgione, welcomed the news that Badenoch would remain in her post:
“Continuity is incredibly important in the area of trade policy, particularly as we are building relationships across the world to strike free trade agreements and those relationships are built on earned trust.
“Continuity is also important given the incredible economic challenges this country is facing, which are affecting our MSME members in particular.
“I congratulate Ms. Badenoch on also being tasked with the additional brief of minister for equalities. This is a broad and important brief. Women in trade is an area of real focus for the IOE&IT and we recently sponsored four She Trades entrepreneurs to attend the WTO’s Public Forum in Geneva.
“We look forward to working closely with Ms Badenoch to make international trade more efficient, competitive and sustainable for our 7000 members and for the wider business community.”
Badenoch has been the MP for Saffron Walden since 2017 and ran in the Conservative Party leadership contest in July, where she was eliminated in the fourth round of voting among Conservative MPs.
Until her resignation from Boris Johnson’s government in July, she was a minister for equalities and for local government, faith and communities.
She has also previously served as exchequer secretary to the Treasury and a parliamentary undersecretary in the Department for Education.
A supporter for Brexit in the 2016 referendum, Badenoch was an Assembly Member in the London Assembly before becoming an MP.
She has also previously worked in the IT sector and for RBS, Coutts and the Spectator.
Remains, returns and leavers
Many of the previous ministers serving under Truss have retained their positions in Sunak’s cabinet, including defence secretary Ben Wallace, foreign secretary James Cleverly and chancellor Jeremy Hunt.
The Evening Standard reports that Suella Braverman has returned as home secretary following her dismissal last week, with Grant Shapps being moved to the business department and Thérèse Coffey heading to DEFRA.
Notable ministers to have been sent to the backbenches include former Brexit minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, ex-transport minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan and levelling up secretary Simon Clarke.