Prime Minister Appoints Cabinet

By Rowan Williams
  • – David Cameron appoints new cabinet ministers
  • – European Commission reveals migrant quota plans
  • – China signs rail and port deals in Russia


Prime Minister David Cameron will meet Conservative backbenchers today for the first time since the party’s election victory, as Cameron continues to assemble the new cabinet. Iain Duncan Smith has been reappointed Work and Pensions Secretary, while former Culture Secretary Sajid Javid has been appointed Business Secretary. Newly elected Boris Johnson is to be appointed to cabinet as a minister without portfolio, which should allow him to concentrate on his duties as Mayor of London. Amber Rudd is to be made the new Energy and Climate Change Secretary. The Prime Minister has already said that the most senior positions of Chancellor, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary will remain the same. Former Chief Whip Michael Gove was appointed Justice Secretary on Sunday. Cameron’s discussions with Conservative backbenchers today – also known as the 1922 Committee – are likely to centre of the issue of EU membership, with Cameron setting out his plans for both a referendum on membership and the terms of a renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU.

The European Commission (EC) is to unveil controversial proposals on migrant quotas, in a move that could create new tensions between the UK government and Brussels. Under the proposals to be launched on Wednesday, EU countries could be forced to take in refugees under a quota scheme. The quota would be of greatest importance during events of ‘mass influx’. The proposals, which are some of a series of measures designed to tackle the Mediterranean migrant crisis, will first be required to be agreed by EU states. Germany supports migrant quotas, while Italy and Malta, countries that tend to receive the majority of Mediterranean migrants, have called for a system to share the responsibility of dealing with migrants. The UK has opposed the proposals, as have Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia. The proposals come as the EU draws up plans for military attacks on Libyan targets, in an attempt to destroy human trafficking networks.

China Railway Construction Corp Ltd (CRCC) has signed a memorandum of understanding to build rail and port projects in Russia, the firm announced on Monday. Projects will include a railway line from Russia’s southern Tuvan Republic to western China, and a port in eastern Russia. The deal was one of several agreed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia, during which he attended the country’s VE Day memorial parade. President Xi has invited Russian troops to march in China’s parade in September to mark the end of World War Two, an invitation that may further deter Western political leaders from attending.

The Papers

Photos from yesterday’s VE Day commemoration make most front pages, while political stories dominate headlines. The day after VE Day, The Daily Telegraph leads with news that the Prime Minister is pushing for his own “victory in Europe” over renegotiation of Britain’s EU membership. The paper reports that talks are already underway for a “referendum as early as next year”. However, Cameron will face further difficulties: the Financial Times leads with news that Britain has been warned by Eastern Europe “not to meddle with migrant rights”. According to several Eastern European Ministers, migrant rules are “sacrosanct”, the paper reports. Migration is also the top story for The Times, which reports that Brussels has ruled “Britain must take Med migrants”. The demand the UK take in tens of thousands of rescued Mediterranean migrants is the “first test of Cameron’s new government”, the paper writes. The Labour Party makes the headlines elsewhere, with The Guardian reporting that the recently resigned Party Leader Ed Miliband has come “under fire” from senior Labour figures for his left-wing ideology. The party has begun “Soul-searching” following its election defeat, with warnings issued over the role of trade unions in the next leadership contest. Labour’s ideological battles also make the front page of The Independent, with the paper reporting that ex-PM Tony Blair and his allies are fighting “to stop union favourite Burnham becoming new leader”. Like Miliband, Burnham has been seen as a left-of-centre figure.

British Media on China

On China’s rate cut: China’s interest rate cut to 5.1 percent received coverage from the BBC, The Guardian and the Financial Times. The BBC writes that the cut comes “amid a continuing economic slowdown”. The FT writes that the move “was not a surprise since economic conditions have continued to deteriorate”. The paper adds that some economic analysts “believe the central bank may not be finished with introducing easing measures”. The Guardian’s agency piece reports that analysts fear China’s central bank had been “too slow in reacting” to falling growth rates.

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