Who could replace Amber Rudd as home secretary?

The MPs in the frame to hold one of the great offices of state

Sunday 29 April 2018 23:32 BST
Who are the contenders to replace Amber Rudd as Home Secretary?

Amber Rudd has handed in her resignation to the Prime Minister, and created a vacancy in one of the most powerful positions in British politics.

The Windrush fiasco, which led to Ms Rudd's downfall, is still in the spotlight, and Ms May will need someone who can pick up the baton swiftly and restore calm to the Home Office.

Beyond departmental issues, with the Brexit negotiations ongoing, the prime minister will also be looking for a replacement who can help with the balance of power between Leave and Remain cabinet members.

Ms Rudd was a Remainer and adding a Leaver into the cabinet could upset what is already an incredibly delicate balance.

Michael Gove

Removed as justice secretary by Theresa May when she became prime minister, his appointment one year later as environment secretary came as a surprise.

Mr Gove was once a leading cabinet minister and at one point was gunning to be prime minister but after his initial exodus he has impressed many with his brief, with the fight against single use plastics and microbeads, as well as his support for farmers and fishermen.

He has also been making regular appearances on radio and television, defending the prime minister. He is however a Leaver and his appointment would mean two of the top four jobs in the Cabinet are held by politicians who backed Brexit.

Jeremy Hunt

Mr Hunt has been health secretary since September 2012, and has manoeuvred through difficult periods, including the junior doctors strikes in 2015 as well as what the British Red Cross described a “humanitarian crisis” in winter care in 2017.

Before his current position Mr Hunt headed up the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

However, Mr Hunt is currently under investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards over breaches in conduct related to the purchase of luxury flats. He apologised for what he called an “honest administrative mistake”.

Mr Hunt campaigned to remain a member of the EU, but has since said he has changed his mind, and would vote to leave were there another referendum.

Sajid Javid

Mr Javid has spoken passionately on the Windrush fiasco and could be the person best placed to deal with the issue.

“It could have been me, my mum or my dad," he told the Sunday Telegraph.

The communities secretary is seen as a uniting figure and issued a plea to ethnic minorities to look at the government’s efforts to “put things right”.

The former Business Secretary is currently the bookies’ favourite and has significant experience in government. He was treasury minister, equalities minister and also headed up the culture department.

Mr Javid backed remaining in the EU and would balance the scales with Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary, who helped lead the Leave campaign.

Karen Bradley

Ms Bradley has just been promoted to Northern Ireland secretary after the resignation of James Brokenshire due to ill health.

The Northern Ireland brief is crucial during the Brexit negotiations and the prime minister may not want to shuffle this position despite Mrs Bradley’s rising stock.

She was previously secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport and campaigned to remain a part of the European Union.

If Ms May is adamant on not upsetting the balance in her cabinet Ms Bradley is one of the few female Remainers in the cabinet who could get promoted.

David Lidington

The current Cabinet Office minister was chosen as Ms May's deputy because he is very reliable.

As a Remainer he would not upset the balance of power in the cabinet and shifting him to the Home Office would not leave a particularly well known ministerial role vacant.

James Brokenshire

Mr Brokenshire was Northern Ireland secretary until January this year, when he stepped down due to ill health. The Old Bexley and Sidcup MP was diagnosed with the early stages of lung cancer, despite never having smoked.

He is back in Parliament and has been vocal about supporting better lung cancer screening services.

Mr Brokenshire was immigration minister between 2014 and 2016 when Theresa May was home secretary. He voted to remain in the European Union.

Victoria Atkins

The Home Office minister has been promoted quite quickly in the department and is one of the newer faces at a ministerial level.

As she does not have much ministerial experience she will not be tied to any of the decisions that have been taken by the department in the last few years.

She supported Remain during the Brexit referendum and also voted to invoke Article 50.

Agency contributed to this report

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