Truss's Cabinet may appear the most diverse yet - but is it really?

From left to right: Kwasi Kwarteng, Suella Braverman, Liz Truss, James Cleverly Credit: PA

There has been a lot said about the diversity of Liz Truss’s Cabinet and it does unquestionably look very different to some governments of the past.

As well as having a female prime minister (not the first of course), the three great offices are now also held by people of ethnic minorities.

Altogether there are seven members of the Cabinet who are non-white, 23% in total, one more than in Boris Johnson’s last Cabinet but five more than under his predecessor Theresa May.

This government is going to look and feel very different.

It is also pretty young, with around 45% of those who are full Cabinet members and attendees under the age of 50. That percentage may not seem high, but is for these jobs.

But there are also areas of less diversity. Take education for example; 68% went to private schools - compared to around 7% of the country overall.

And then there is the question of loyalty and politics.

Out of all 31 members who attend Cabinet, 77% backed Liz Truss in this race (including some who turned to her after running themselves or backing others).

Just six out of the 31 did not declare either way and many think that one of them, Alok Sharma, may not even last after Cop27.

That leaves just one, Michael Ellis, not even a member who fully backed Truss' main opponent, Rishi Sunak.

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Beyond that is the question of ideology. Truss no doubt wants people who will back her plans but that does mean that there is more than a slight tilt to the right of the party.

That said, those on the more liberal wing will want to get behind her after a fair win in the contest that was in the middle of a crisis and ahead of a general election in which they want to retain their seats. Take former solicitor-general Alex Chalk, who backed Sunak and is now out. When I saw him today he was buoyed by PMQs and felt she’d come across as a winner.

But others may not be so supportive. There was a barbed reference about Truss packing the cabinet with her supporters from Tory MP Johnny Mercer, whose wife went further in attacking Truss when he lost his role overseeing veterans.

And then there are the other big beasts now exiled to the backbenches. Sunak himself is now back to the benches and so are Dominic Raab, Grant Shapps, Steve Barclay and more. They’ll be gracious for now, I’m sure.

But that is a lot of potential trouble brewing behind the new prime minister.