The Cabinet needs a shake-up with new faces added. However, moving Liz Truss from her post as Secretary of State for International Trade at such a crucial time for this country, would be a significant mistake for the Prime Minister, argues Jayne Adye, Director of Get Britain Out

With the vaccine rollout continuing to pick up pace and Rishi Sunak today announcing a Budget like nothing we ever would have expected from a Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, it is widely rumoured the Prime Minister is preparing to reshuffle his Cabinet. While I would certainly agree that fresh blood and ideas are needed in the highest offices of State, the Prime Minister must also be careful not to end up moving some Ministers simply for the sake of it.

The prime example of such an individual currently rumoured to be in line for a move in Government is the current Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss MP. Ms Truss is seen as one of the most proactive and popular Cabinet members and unlike people like Gavin Williamson and Matt Hancock, is not tarnished with problems arising from COVID-19. As a result, it would be very easy to move Ms Truss into a more high-profile position which could do with a makeover – education being the most obvious option.

However, to make such a move at this time, would be a critical mistake for the Prime Minister. While the Secretary of State for International Trade position may not traditionally be seen as a significant position in Cabinet by the general public, right now this perception could not be further from the truth. For the past 2 years since Ms Truss took up the position she has worked incredibly efficiently and effectively to promote the vision of Global Britain outside the EU. This hard work has so far resulted in well over 60 trade agreements signed with countries all over the world, accounting for over 80% of UK exports.

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Undoubtedly this work deserves more recognition, but there is more still to do. Just this week in an interview Ms Truss herself said now we are out of the EU: "There is more work to do on Trade Deals than ever before.". This is not the time to move one of the few bright lights in Government over the past year and upset the applecart.

With the EU refusing to show a modicum of common sense when it comes to implementing what was agreed in both the Northern Ireland Protocol and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, solidifying our trading relationships with our other international partners is of critical importance. A new Secretary of State would take time to get up to speed on the issues and specifics of the role – time which is simply too valuable.

While it is undoubtable Ms Truss should keep her current position, I would still encourage the Prime Minister to bring new faces into Government and the Cabinet, most prominently he should look at promoting many of those who were elected in the 2019 General Election, especially some of those new MPs from seats in the former 'Red Wall'. These voices have not been represented in Government – especially during the Pandemic – and with these areas making up some of the those which will benefit most from the Government's 'levelling up' agenda in a post-Brexit economy, it is important the concerns of a wider section of voters throughout the country are heard. We must not go back to the practice of the South of England dominating representatives in Cabinet which has prevailed for the last decade.

The Government stands at a clear crossroads over its approach to Brexit – and the future of the UK as a whole – whether this is on education, agriculture, Financial Services or our economy. A rumoured reshuffle would be a good idea for the Prime Minister to bring fresh blood into Government and the Cabinet after Get Britain Out of the EU and the end of the pandemic. However, at such a crucial time in our economic recovery, moving Cabinet Members from vital roles which reflect our new global status outside the EU, would be a mistake at the moment. Liz Truss is key among these roles and while it would be easy to reward her excellent work over the past year with a big promotion, the task of re-establishing the UK on the global trading stage is not yet over.

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