British PM Leaves Top Ministers Unchanged After Election

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LONDON, Jun 10 – British Prime Minister Theresa May kept her senior ministers in post on Friday after suffering humiliating losses in the snap election. Here are details on the key ministries:

Chancellor of the Exchequer

Philip Hammond, 61, a former foreign minister, is seen as a steady if unspectacular pair of hands guiding the economy through the turbulent waters of Brexit. He has kept his top role as finance minister despite rumours that he might be sacked following an embarrassing U-turn over planned tax hikes, and reports of disagreements with May’s office on her EU strategy. Hammond, who believes in prudent public finances, had been fiercely critical of the European Union in the past but backed Britain’s membership in the referendum campaign.

Foreign Secretary

Boris Johnson, a leading Brexit campaigner, stunned diplomats last year when he was appointed Britain’s foreign affairs chief. With his blond mop-top hair, bumbling manner and tendency to drift into Latin during speeches, Johnson, 52, is one of Britain’s most recognisable politicians.

The former mayor of London has often strayed from the diplomatic line, such as the “Prosecco” affair when he told Italy’s economic development minister that the country should support Britain’s access to the European single market if it wants to keep selling its bubbly.

Brexit Minister

Fervent eurosceptic David Davis has led the Department for Exiting the European Union since it was created in the wake of the Brexit vote to lead negotiations with Brussels. A former executive in the sugar industry and one-time special forces reservist, the 68-year-old has a reputation for being tough, principled and sometimes reckless. He has good relations with EU negotiator Michel Barnier, having worked together as Europe ministers for their respective countries in the 1990s.

Home Secretary

Amber Rudd took over from May as the country’s interior minister, and will stay in post as Britain deals with the fallout from three terror attacks in three months. The 53-year-old former investment banker has a reputation for being efficient and reliable. She also stood in for May during an televised election debate between party leaders, winning praise for a punchy performance that left some tipping her for the top job.

Defence Secretary

Michael Fallon will continue to head the ministry of defence, where he has been for the past three years. The 65-year-old is a loyal lieutenant, often found touring the broadcast studios and directing fire at the Labour opposition when needed. He voted against Brexit but rallied around May last month after she said EU officials were trying to interfere in UK politics, arguing Brexit talks would “be easier if commission officials kept their views to themselves”. — AFP

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