Liberal Tories fear 'most right-wing Cabinet in 100 years' as Liz Truss wins leadership

Deputy Political Editor Anushka Asthana outlines which MPs are tipped for big jobs in Liz Truss' cabinet

As you run down the list of the Conservative MPs tipped to take seats in Liz Truss’s Cabinet, it’s clear that one consistent theme is that of loyalty.

Yes, there are some who ran themselves in the leadership, and some of their backers too (like Kemi Badenoch, Tom Tugendhat and Anne-Marie Trevalyan).

But they have all now swung heavily behind Truss herself.

The only one-time Rishi Sunak supporter making the newspaper lists is Robert Buckland who switched sides halfway through the summer (when - cynical colleagues might point out - the polls had swung decisively towards Truss).

Clearly there will need to be some Sunak supporters making the list - with Robert Jenrick one name I've heard - and perhaps Grant Shapps.

Penny Mordaunt, who is from the centre of the party, is also set to join to Cabinet.

But elsewhere special advisers and some ministers told me this morning they were packing up their belongings, saying that the exit tends to be swift when it comes. One minister said their job had already been offered to three others.

Some backbenchers on the more liberal wing of the party are despairing. One joked they were in a "defensive crouch" waiting for the result. Another said the leaks of names for the Cabinet looked like the "most right-wing Cabinet in 100 years".

Of those looking likely to take top positions, there is incredible diversity. From Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor, James Cleverly as foreign secretary, and Suella Braverman at the Home Office (who backed Truss as soon as she was voted out of the race) - to Ranil Jayawardena at environment and possibly Sajid Javid as Northern Ireland secretary.

Beyond that - with names like Jacob Rees-Mogg, Iain Duncan Smith and Simon Clarke - this does look like a Cabinet that will lean heavily to the right.

Of the so-called "one nation" wing of the party - there is just Buckland (who has fallen out with friends over his defection), as well as leadership candidate Tom Tugendhat - who will likely take a role "attending Cabinet" like security minister.

Therese Coffey - who describes Truss as her closest friend - is expected to become health secretary, with Norwich MP Chloe Smith at the department for work and pensions.

Those two roles will be absolutely critical as the government prepares to offer support to the poorest, hit worst by the crippling energy crisis, and prepare for a winter crisis in the NHS - already suffering with growing waiting lists and ambulance delays.

If the Conservatives are to have any hope electorally then the NHS is key - as could be heard from angry voters on the doorsteps of recent by-elections in Tiverton and North Shropshire.

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But like all shake-ups, part of the story will clearly focus on whose out and what trouble they can cause from the backbenches.

There is Rishi Sunak himself and his most loyal henchmen- with Dominic Raab's outspoken tirades against Truss likely to spell the end of his Cabinet career - and Steve Barclay - Boris Johnson's chief of staff probably going too.

And then there is, of course, Boris Johnson himself, who will prefer a Truss victory to a Sunak one but who continues to feel aggrieved at his manner of departure and boosted no doubt by the appreciation shown to him by Tory members in this campaign.

Will he come back? As one member said to me as they left the final hustings at Wembley, "we've definitely not seen the end of Boris". All of which adds up to the craziness of British politics carrying on at quite a pace.