The first time a black person joined the UK government was Paul Boateng, appointed Treasury Secretary in 2002 under Labor Prime Minister Tony Blair. But it is the Conservative Party, under the leadership of the new head of government Liz Truss, which paradoxically has made the greatest progress in terms of diversity.
New British government: Africanity and Afrophilia?
For the first time in history, the three most important portfolios of the British government will be filled by black political figures. But make no mistake about it: although they come from families of African origin, these new Eurosceptic figures take a hard line against immigration. Overview.
Kwasi Kwarteng, the ultraliberal in Finance
Of Ghanaian origin, Kwasi Kwarteng inherited the Ministry of Finance, becoming the first black to hold this portfolio in the British government. A supporter of lower taxes and the liberalization of the market economy, he will probably have little respite. His appointment comes as the country is going through a serious economic crisis. For several weeks, the United Kingdom has been experiencing an inflation rate record. In July, it stood at 10.1% over one year, the highest since this statistic was introduced in 1997 and at a level not seen since 1982.
The son of immigrants who arrived in Britain in the 1960s, Kwasi Kwarteng followed the typical path of the British elite. The one who was elected MP in 2010 is a pure product of the prestigious Eton College – a secondary school for boys – founded by King Henry IV in 1440 and which also attended several British personalities, including Prime Ministers David Cameron and Boris Johnson. But for the British press, this graduate of the University of Cambridge and passed by Harvard owes his political ascent only to his friendship with Liz Truss, who until then was in charge of Foreign Affairs. The two Conservative Party figures have sat together in the House of Commons and live on the same street in Greenwich, a district in south-west London.
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Before being appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, this Brexit supporter had already served as Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy under Boris Johnson, since January 2021.
Suella Braverman, the eurosceptic on the inside
Hardly named that she set the tone. “Making our streets safer, supporting our security services and controlling immigration,” Suella Braverman tweeted the day after the announcement of the new UK government. Like Liz Truss, the one who until then served as Attorney General for England and Wales embodies the right wing of the Conservative Party.
Her appointment as head of the Ministry of the Interior marks the culmination of her rise within a political formation where she distinguished herself by her positions in favor of a stricter policy of controlling migratory flows, as the country faces increasing numbers of illegal migrants crossing the English Channel. Ideas that detonate because of its origins.
Suella Braverman was indeed born in 1980 to a Kenyan father, who arrived in England to escape the war that was raging in his country, and a Mauritian mother of origin. Indian. « On a cold February morning in 1968, a young man who was not yet 21 got off a plane at Heathrow Airport. He had no family or friends and held only his most prized possession, his British passport. Her native country was in political turmoil, ”she said when she arrived in Parliament in 2015.
For asylum seekers in the UK, the stopover in Kigali
Eurosceptic, Suella Braverman will notably have to continue the policy put in place by her predecessor, Priti Patel. In April, an agreement was signed between the British authorities and Rwanda to return illegal migrants there. He has been denounced by several human rights organizations.
James Cleverly, the loyal to Foreign Affairs
At 53, James Cleverly becomes the first black to lead British diplomacy. He will have a lot to do: war between Russia and Ukraine, status of Northern Ireland after Brexit, negotiations with the European Union… The files are complex. A little-known figure on the international scene, James Cleverly, had already served as Secretary of State for Europe and North America between February and July 2022. Just before taking charge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he had been in charge of the National Education portfolio for two months. His appointment sounds like a consecration for the one who entered parliament in 2015.
It was in 2002 that he joined the Conservative Party, then led by Iain Duncan Smith. Born to a nursing mother from Sierra Leone, James Cleverly was brought up in a modest family in South East London. A graduate of the University of Thames Valley, he began a career in publishing, after a brief stint in the British army as a reserve officer.
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For many observers, the entry into government of James Cleverly is a reward for his loyalty to the Prime Minister, whom he supported in his duel against Rishi Sunak, the other candidate for the succession of Boris Johnson. In government, the former reserve officer will work closely with Liz Truss, who has wanted to personally drive foreign policy since the 10 Downing Street.