PM brings Esther McVey back to Cabinet and tasks her with a mission to combat ‘wokery’ as he offers an olive branch to Tory Right


By Greg Heffer, Political Correspondent For Mailonline

18:12 13 Nov 2023, updated 09:26 14 Nov 2023



Esther McVey is making a return to Cabinet after Rishi Sunak handed her a Government role as ‘minister for common sense’ in his reshuffle.

The Prime Minister has given the Tatton MP a job in the Cabinet Office in which she will be expected to focus on combating ‘wokery’.

Ms McVey, a former work and pensions secretary under ex-PM Theresa May, will officially be known as a minister without portfolio.

But No10 suggested the 56-year-old Liverpudlian would likely be known as ‘common sense minister’ and would ‘stand up for working people’.

The move to reappoint Ms McVey to Cabinet will be seen as Mr Sunak’s olive branch to the Tory Right, after the PM angered many of his backbenchers by sacking Suella Braverman as Home Secretary.

Esther McVey is making a return to Cabinet after Rishi Sunak handed her a Government role as ‘minister for common sense’ in his reshuffle.
The Prime Minister has given the Tatton MP a job in the Cabinet Office in which she will be expected to focus on combating ‘wokery’
But No10 suggested the 56-year-old Liverpudlian would likely be known as ‘common sense minister’ and would ‘stand up for working people’
Ms McVey ran to be Tory leader in 2019, after Theresa May announced her resignation as PM, as part of a Blue Collar Conservatives campaign.
The ex-GMTV star, who married fellow Tory MP Philip Davies in 2020, is set to give up her job as a part-time presenter on GB News to take on her new ministerial role

Ms McVey, who married fellow Tory MP Philip Davies in 2020, is set to give up her job as a part-time presenter on GB News to take on her new ministerial role.

The ex-GMTV star has previously held a series of ministerial positions since becoming an MP and served under previous PMs David Cameron, Mrs May and Boris Johnson.

She ran to be Tory leader in 2019, after Mrs May announced her resignation as PM, as part of a Blue Collar Conservatives campaign. 

But Ms McVey failed to make it past the first round of voting among Tory MPs.

She revived her hopes of top office in July last year, when she endorsed Jeremy Hunt in the contest to replace Mr Johnson as PM.

Ms McVey was Mr Hunt’s candidate for deputy PM, but he was defeated in the first round of parliamentary voting.

Her return to Cabinet today will be viewed as part of Mr Sunak’s efforts to shore up his right flank following the departure of Mrs Braverman.

In the wake of fierce rows over her comments about rough sleepers and a pro-Palestine march on Armistice Day, Mrs Braverman was ousted from the Home Office by Mr Sunak in a phone call this morning.

But the PM’s move to replace her with James Cleverly, the former foreign secretary, at the start of a dramatic reshuffle sparked fury among Conservative backbenchers.

One former minister lamented how Mrs Braverman had been sacked for ‘speaking the truth’ on issues such as homelessness and demonstrations about Israel’s conflict with Hamas.

Another suggested Mr Sunak had made the Tories’ chances of winning the next general election even harder by removing a figure who ‘understands what the country thinks’ on migration.

There was further anger among Tory right-wingers when it was announced that ex-PM David Cameron – who led the Remain campaign during the EU referendum – was Mr Cleverly’s replacement in the Foreign Office.

‘WTAF!!!!,’ posted one Tory MP in a WhatsApp group. 

A grassroots Conservative campaign group today urged angry MPs to submit no confidence letters in Mr Sunak over the reshuffle and the sacking of Mrs Braverman.

Former education minister Andrea Jenkyns complied with that request tonight, as she publicly shared her no confidence letter to 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady.

‘Enough is enough, I have submitted my vote of no confidence letter to the Chairman of the 1922,’ she said.

‘It is time for Rishi Sunak to go and replace him with a ‘real’ Conservative party leader.’

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