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British new PM Theresa May lands big government jobs

2016-July-15       Source: Xinhuanet.com

The junior minister who pulled out of the government leadership race to pave the way for Theresa May to become British prime minister was Thursday rewarded with a big front-bench job.

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Britain's new Prime Minister Theresa May(L) delivers a speech after arriving at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain on July 13, 2016. Britain's new Prime Minister Theresa May arrived at Downing Street on Wednesday after gaining consent from Queen Elizabeth II. (Xinhua/Han Yan)

The junior minister who pulled out of the government leadership race to pave the way for Theresa May to become British prime minister was Thursday rewarded with a big front-bench job.

Andrea Leadsom, former minister of state at the department of energy and climate change, was named as secretary of state for environment,food and rural affairs, giving her a major job in May's Downing Street cabinet.

Leadsom pulled out of the race over the leadership of the governing Conservative Party on Monday, leaving May as the only contender, effectively throwing the keys of Number 10 to her rival.

May spent her first full day as prime minister by appointing more politicians to her front bench, at the same time firing a number of well-known politicians, including Justice Secretary Michael Gove.

Johnson has been made foreign secretary, replacing Philip Hammond who was made Chancellor of the Exchequer replacing George Osborne.

It emerged Thursday that May had effectively fired Osborne by saying that she did not want him in her front bench cabinet team.

May continued to wield the political axe, giving a number of Cameron's ministers and secretaries their marching orders, in some cases to make space in the cabinet for more female ministers. Other ministers decided to leave the government.

Gove was replaced as Justice Secretary by Liz Truss while Education Secretary Nicky Morgan was also fired and replaced by the former international development secretary Justine Greening.

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has also left the government, but Cameron's Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, caught up in a major wrangle with junior doctors over new working conditions in the NHS, has kept his job.

Chris Grayling, who ran May's leadership campaign, has also won a cabinet role as Secretary of State for Transport.

Earlier Thursday, the newly-appointed Chancellor Philip Hammond ruled out an emergency budget, which his predecessor Osborne had said would almost certainly be needed in the event of a vote to leave the EU. Hammond said there would be a normal autumn statement in the fall, and a regular budget next spring.

Hammond said in a media interview that the British economy was entering a new phase because of the vote to leave the EU, admitting the referendum decision of June 23 had had a chilling short-term effect on the economy.

"It has shaken confidence and caused many businesses to pause investment decisions that they were making," said Hammond, adding the government now needed to send signals of reassurance about the future as quickly and as powerful as it can.

The phone lines at Downing Street have continued to ring all day with messages of congratulation for May, who has become the second female prime minister in British history. Among the phone calls received by May were ones from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

May also had a 15 minutes telephone conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama. May's spokeswoman said the prime minister "underlined her commitment to be a key partner with the United States."

Meanwhile away from intense media spotlight, the troubles continue for the main opposition Labour Party over its leadership battle.

Leader Jeremy Corbyn faces a leadership challenge from two of his MPs, Angela Eagle and Owen Smith. Most of Corbyn's shadow cabinet quit after 172 MPs passed a vote of no confidence in the leader.

Editor: Will

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