Interim UK Opposition Leader Rishi Sunak names shadow Cabinet

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Rishi Sunak

Conservative Party leader Rishi Sunak (File image)

London: Rishi Sunak, the interim UK Opposition Leader until his Conservative Party finalises the process to choose his successor, has named a shadow Cabinet who will take their place in the House of Commons as the new members of Parliament begin being sworn in on Tuesday.

The 44-year-old British Indian leader had to contend with some high-profile resignations and missing Tory MPs who lost their seats in the party’s worst electoral defeat in last week’s general election, which the Labour Party won with a landslide.

David Cameron, a former prime minister who was parachuted into the House of Lords by Sunak to become his foreign secretary last year, has resigned and the portfolio will now be shadowed by his former deputy Andrew Mitchell.

"It’s been a huge honour to serve as foreign secretary, but clearly the Conservative Party in Opposition will need to shadow the new foreign secretary from the Commons," said Cameron in a social media post.

"As a committed Conservative I will continue to support the party and help where I can as we rebuild from the very disappointing election result," he said.

Richard Holden resigned as party chairman after what he said was a "very tough set of results" and has been replaced by former economic secretary to the UK Treasury Richard Fuller as interim chairman.

James Cartlidge has been appointed shadow defence secretary and Ed Argar shadow justice secretary, after the former ministers in those briefs – Grant Shapps and Alex Chalk – lost their seats.

Kemi Badenoch, former business secretary, has been named shadow levelling up secretary after Michael Gove had stepped down as an MP, and Kevin Hollinrake will shadow Badenoch's former ministerial role in the Opposition.

Former Home Office minister Chris Philp will be the new shadow Leader of the House of Commons for the Tories after Penny Mordaunt suffered a defeat in the polls.

Many of the other portfolios will mirror their former ministerial posts from the Opposition benches, with Jeremy Hunt named as shadow chancellor, James Cleverly as shadow home secretary and Indian-origin Claire Coutinho as shadow energy security and net zero secretary.

Sunak and his shadow Cabinet will be in place for the early business in the Commons, with the State Opening of Parliament scheduled for July 17 when the King’s Speech will lay out the Keir Starmer-led government’s plans for the parliamentary calendar ahead.

Starmer, meanwhile, has been whizzing around different parts of the United Kingdom before setting off on his first overseas tour as British Prime Minister to Washington for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) summit.

His Cabinet, with a record number of women ministers including British Indian Culture Secretary Lisa Nandy, had their second meeting with him at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday.

Foreign Secretary David Lammy has been on a hurriedly organised European visit to Germany, Poland and Sweden.

Chancellor Rachel Reeves made her maiden policy speech on Monday, promising measures such as planning reforms to get the economy growing again.

While Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner has the additional brief of Levelling Up Secretary, Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has a big challenge of illegal migration to tackle as Labour ditches the Tory plan to deport them to Rwanda.

Pakistani-origin Shabana Mahmood as Justice Secretary has to get to grips with an overflowing prison population and John Healey as the Defence Secretary has to set the UK’s strategy amid ongoing global conflicts.

Wes Streeting as the new Health Secretary has set up meetings with striking National Health Service (NHS) junior doctors to find a resolution to the long-drawn crisis and Jonathan Reynolds will be preparing for his Department for Business and Trade to pick up on key issues, including the India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations.