James Cleverly has held a second major state office in just over a year after the Prime Minister appointed him Home Secretary following the sacking of Suella Braverman.

The senior Conservative has shown loyalty to Rishi Sunak since the Prime Minister decided to keep him as foreign secretary when he entered Downing Street just over a year ago.

Mr Cleverly, who has previously expressed a desire to become prime minister, is an old ally of Boris Johnson and was a staunch supporter of Liz Truss before her short-lived tenure in No 10.

Ms Truss rewarded Mr Cleverly by appointing him foreign secretary and Mr Sunak reappointed him in October 2022.

During his time as head of the Foreign Office, he has managed a number of international crises and has recently provided frequent media briefings on the situation in the Middle East as the war between Israel and Hamas continues to rage.

The 54-year-old visited China in August, becoming the first British foreign secretary to make the trip in five years – a move that has been criticized by Tory MPs who want Mr Sunak’s government to take a more hawkish approach to relations towards Beijing.

But a change in position on China appears unlikely after David Cameron, a Sinophile during his time as prime minister, returned to government as foreign secretary in Monday’s reshuffle.

The Braintree MP also played a central role in the evacuation of British nationals from Sudan when fighting broke out between two different factions in the Central African country in spring 2023, while also being one of the UK government’s key spokespeople on the Ukraine conflict.

His new position as Home Secretary allows Mr Cleverly to tick off another Cabinet post.

He briefly held the position of education secretary – becoming the third person to hold that role in 48 hours – when Mr Johnson’s term collapsed around him in July 2022.

He was also co-chair of the Conservative Party and held junior ministerial positions in the Cabinet Office, the Foreign Office and the defunct Department for Exiting the European Union.

According to his website, Mr Cleverly, the son of a midwife and a businessman, was born at Lewisham Hospital in southeast London, where his mother worked.

He spent much of his childhood with his family in Chelmsford, Essex, and joined the army after school.

But his ambition was dashed when he was injured and he returned to education to complete a degree in business administration.

He also joined the Territorial Army, where he served for about 20 years.

Mr Cleverly, married to Susie and a father of two, had a career in magazine and digital publishing and said he worked on a number of “market-leading titles” before setting up his own company.

He ventured into the world of politics and unsuccessfully ran for a seat on Lewisham City Council in 2002.

He also stood for the Lewisham East parliamentary seat in 2005, but was defeated by Labor.

Mr Cleverly was elected to the London Assembly in 2008 as member for Bexley and Bromley and later replaced Mr Johnson as chairman of the London Waste and Recycling Board.

In 2012, Mr Johnson, the then mayor of London, appointed him chairman of the London Fire Authority.

Mr Cleverly resigned from the post in 2015 after being selected to stand for Parliament at the next general election, securing his Braintree seat for the first time this year.

During his term as Brexit Minister, he took part in the Conservative leadership race to succeed Theresa May in 2019.

But he later backtracked, saying his fellow MPs were unhappy with the idea of ​​selecting a “relatively new” colleague.

In his new role at the Home Office, he will help Mr Sunak tackle a priority entry issue, including dealing with this week’s Supreme Court ruling on whether it is legal for the British government to deport migrants arriving in Rwanda in small boats .

The prime minister has regularly cited Rwanda policy as a path that could help fulfill his promise to stop boats from crossing the English Channel before the next election.

The new home secretary is also likely to be tasked with reviewing police powers to tackle disruptive protests after reports Mr Sunak is keen to make it easier for chiefs to ban marches and prosecute those who glorify terrorism – an allegation , which is being levied against some of the pro-Palestinian participants in the demonstrations.

Mr. Cleverly has played his part on the world stage. He will now turn his attention to implementing the Prime Minister’s domestic priorities.

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Source : www.newschainonline.com

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