London : Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday promoted one of Britain’s most prominent Indian-origin MPs Priti Patel by making her the new Employment Minister, as he unveiled the first all-Conservative Cabinet in nearly 20 years with his top four aides retaining their previous portfolios.
The senior-most berths in the Cabinet were confirmed soon after the election results were out with Chancellor George Osborne, Home Secretary Theresa May, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon being re-confirmed in their respective posts.
Patel, who was re-elected from Witham in Essex with a big majority in the May 7 general election, replaces another female MP in the Cabinet, Esther McVey, who lost in the polls.
“A real privilege to be appointed as Minister of State for Employment at the Department for Work and Pensions,” the 43-year-old said in a message posted on Twitter .
While the London-born mother of one will not be in charge of the Department for Work and Pensions, she has been given a Cabinet rank as a promotion from her previous role as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.
It remains to be seen if she will also carry on in her honorary role as the British Prime Minister’s Indian Diaspora Champion.
Her appointment reflects Cameron’s plans to shake up the party’s old fashioned all-male image and have a significant number of women around the Cabinet table.
Other women members of the new Cabinet are Amber Rudd as Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Liz Truss as Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Anna Soubry as Minister of State (Minister for Small Business), Justine Greening as Secretary of State for International Development, Theresa Villiers as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Baroness Stowell, who’s been promoted to the Cabinet as Leader of the House of Lords.