Theme: Government & Parliament | Content Type: Journal article

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Those who Wear the Crown Wield the Knife: the Brutality of Recent Takeover Reshuffles

Nicholas Allen

liz truss

UK Prime Minister

| 1 min read

Recent ‘takeover’ Prime Ministers have tended to conduct relatively brutal Cabinet reshuffles immediately after taking office. Liz Truss dismissed and moved large numbers of ministers after becoming Prime Minister in September 2022, and Rishi Sunak did the same after succeeding Truss in October 2022. This article locates the tendency towards brutalism in the broader context of British Cabinet reshuffles. It compares the scale of takeover reshuffles with other types of reshuffles and demonstrates how incoming takeover Prime Ministers in the twenty-first century have reconstructed their Cabinets more extensively than their predecessors. The article argues that the use of all-member ballots in party leadership elections has been a key driver of brutalism, and it further identifies several reasons why future Prime Ministers might want to resist the tendency.

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    Nicholas Allen

    Nicholas Allen is a Reader in Politics at the Department of Politics and International Relations, Royal Holloway, University of London.

    Articles by Nicholas Allen