Rishi Sunak unveils interim shadow cabinet as Holden and Cameron resign

Rishi Sunak has unveiled his interim shadow cabinet after the Conservative Party’s historic election defeat last week.

Choosing from a pool of 121 MPs, the former prime minister has stuck to the outline of the top team which served under him in government, while replacing those who lost their seats.

Among the cabinet ministers to lose their seats last week were Penny Mordaunt, Grant Shapps, Alex Chalk and Gillian Keegan.

Lord Cameron, the former foreign secretary, and Richard Holden, the ex-party chairman, have resigned and therefore no longer feature in the Conservatives’ frontbench team.

Holden, a former transport minister, said the review of the party’s disastrous election campaign would “best take place with a new set of eyes to help provide the clearest view.”

“Therefore, that process should happen under a new Party Chairman, and I will step aside as soon as you can confirm a replacement”, he told Rishi Sunak in his resignation letter.

Holden’s replacement as interim chairman of the Conservative Party has been announced as Richard Fuller, former economic secretary to the Treasury and the MP for North Bedfordshire.

Holden came under fierce criticism during the election campaign after he was selected for the previously safe Conservative seat of Basildon and Billericay in Essex rather than fight a campaign in Durham.

In the 2019-2024 parliament, Holden had served as the MP for North West Durham. However, this seat was subsequently broken up in boundary changes, and apportioned among the constituencies of City of Durham, North Durham, Bishop Auckland and Blaydon and Consett.

Holden’s so-called “chicken run” — 300 miles-long — just about paid off after he won election as the MP for Basildon and Billericay by 20 votes.

Andrew Mitchell, the former deputy foreign secretary, is to serve as shadow foreign secretary after Lord Cameron’s resignation.

The full interim shadow cabinet, appointed to by Rishi Sunak, is as follows:

  • Shadow Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Oliver Dowden
  • Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer: Jeremy Hunt
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs: Andrew Mitchell
  • Shadow Home Secretary: James Cleverly
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Defence: James Cartlidge
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Justice: Ed Argar
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology: Andrew Griffith
  • Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary: Victoria Atkins
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities: Kemi Badenoch
  • Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Steve Barclay
  • Shadow Leader of the House of Commons: Chris Philp
  • Shadow Leader of the House of Lords: Lord True
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Trade: Kevin Hollinrake
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero: Claire Coutinho
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions: Mel Stride
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Education: Damian Hinds
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Transport: Helen Whately
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport: Julia Lopez
  • Shadow Attorney General: Jeremy Wright
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: Alex Burghart
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland: John Lamont
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Wales: Lord Davies of Gower
  • Opposition Chief Whip: Stuart Andrew
  • Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Laura Trott
  • Shadow Paymaster General: John Glen
  • Shadow Security Minister: Tom Tugendhat
  • Shadow Veterans Minister: Andrew Bowie
  • Shadow Women and Equalities: Mims Davies

Commenting, interim Conservative Party chair Richard Fuller said: “The Conservative Party has had a difficult election and it is important that we regroup and reflect on these results.

“We should also challenge ourselves candidly and deeply on the strengths of the Conservative Party across the country and outline where improvements can be made.

“I am honoured to be asked to act as interim Chairman of the Conservative Party and to be working alongside colleagues in the Shadow Cabinet.

“United as a party we will be ready and able to hold this new Labour government to account every step of the way.”

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