London: The cabinet of the newly-elected British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, will be the first of its kind to not have white men in any of the country’s top four ministerial positions.
Liz Truss appointed Kwasi Kwarteng – whose parents came from Ghana in the 1960s – as Britain’s first black finance minister and James Cleverly as the first black foreign minister.
James Cleverly, whose mother hails from Sierra Leone and whose father is white, has in the past spoken about being bullied as a mixed-race child and has said the party needs to do more to attract Black voters.
Suella Braverman, whose parents came to Britain from Kenya and Mauritius six decades ago, succeeds Priti Patel as the second ethnic minority home secretary, or interior minister, where she will be responsible for police and immigration.
The growing diversity is in part thanks to a push by the Conservative Party in recent years to put forward a more varied set of candidates for parliament.
British governments have, until a few decades ago, been made up of white men. It took until 2002 for Britain to appoint its first ethnic minority cabinet minister when Paul Boateng was appointed chief secretary to the Treasury.
Rishi Sunak, whose parents came from India, was Kwarteng’s predecessor in the finance job and the runner-up to Truss in the leadership context.
“Politics has set the pace. We now treat it as normal, this diversity,” said Sunder Katwala, director of non-partisan think-tank British Future, which focuses on migration and identity. “The pace of change is extraordinary.”
However, the upper ranks of business, the judiciary, the civil service and the army are all still predominately white.