Pensions  

Cameron confirms continuity in senior government roles

Cameron confirms continuity in senior government roles

Newly re-elected prime minister David Cameron has confirmed several of the new ministers that will form his Conservative government, opting for continuity in his senior cabinet team as he seeks to make good on a campaign pledge to “finish the job” on the economic recovery.

Following the last week’s election, in which the Tories won a slight but highly surprising majority, Mr Cameron announced George Osborne will continue as chancellor of the exchequer and will become first secretary of state, effectively the statutory deputy to the prime minister.

Theresa May will also continue as home secretary, as will Philip Hammond as foreign secretary and Michael Fallon as secretary of state for defence. Nicky Morgan will continue as secretary of state for education and minister for women.

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In one of the more high profile changes, Michael Gove will become lord chancellor and secretary of state for justice, while Chris Grayling becomes lord president of the council and leader of the House of Commons. Mark Harper becomes chief whip, or parliamentary secretary to the Treasury.

On Friday the Queen approved the resignation of Nick Clegg, now former Liberal Democrat leader, from the role of deputy prime minister, along with those of Danny Alexander, former chief secretary to the Treasury; Simon Hughes, minister of state; Vince Cable, business secretary; and Steve Webb, pensions minister.

All of the senior Lib Dem coalition figures were among the 49 MPs from the party who lost their seats in the rout which contributed to the Conservatives shock win.

Mr Webb’s exit has brought speculation in the industry over who will take up the pensions minister role in the new government, with some hoping newly peeraged Ros Altmann would be willing to revise the role of consumer protection minister she is due to take up.

Malcolm McLean, senior consultant at Barnett Waddingham, noted that there are no immediately obvious candidates and added that it would be unfortunate if the new minister was someone with little or no experience of pensions.

“One possible solution might be to expand the new role proposed for Ros Altmann to operate as the next pensions minister from the House of Lords.”

After speaking to the Queen, Mr Cameron thanked his previous coalition partners, making special mention of Mr Clegg.

“Elections can be bruising clashes of ideas and arguments, and a lot of people who believe profoundly in public service have seen that service cut short.

“Ed Miliband rang me this morning to wish me luck with the new government; it was a typically generous gesture from someone who is clearly in public service for all the right reasons.”

peter.walker@ft.com