Rishi Sunak’s new cabinet and where they stand on LGBTQ+ rights

Rishi Sunak pictured against a pink edited background showing 10 Downing Street with Suella Braverman to his right and Dominic Raab to his left.

Rishi Sunak has begun his cabinet reshuffle, with Suella Braverman back as home secretary just days after she was effectively sacked.

The new prime minister announced his senior ministers on Tuesday (25 October), keeping Jeremy Hunt as chancellor, James Cleverly as foreign secretary, and moving Thérèse Coffey to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Dominic Raab becomes deputy prime minister and justice secretary, Nadhim Zahawi becomes minister without portfolio – with a replacement as equalities minister to be announced – and Michael Gove returns as levelling up secretary.

In a surprising turn of events, Rishi Sunak has re-appointed Suella Braverman as home secretary just days after was forced to resign for breaching the ministerial code by sending an email from a private address.

Throughout her short tenure as home secretary, Braverman emerged as one of the most prominent anti-trans ministers in government. She repeatedly used her platform to speak out against trans kids, “woke” culture, and what she has described as the “trans ideology”.

She is also a firm supporter of the government’s Rwanda plan, which would see people seeking asylum deported from the UK on arrival if they’re deemed to be “illegal” by the state, and which activists have said could be a death sentence for LGBTQ+ refugees.

Suella Braverman outside No 10

Home secretary Suella Braverman. (Carl Court/Getty)

The appointment was condemned by Sebastian Rocca, CEO of LGBTQ+ asylum charity Micro Rainbow.

“The re-appointment of Suella Braverman as home secretary is a huge missed opportunity to build an immigration system that is humane, fair and efficient,” Rocca told PinkNews.

“At Micro Rainbow we are hugely worried about the lives of many LGBTQI asylum seekers.

“Her dream is to see a flight full of migrants to take off for Rwanda. This is heartbreaking on so many levels. Our dream is that LGBTQI people facing persecution can find a warm welcome in the UK through safe routes.”

Rishi Sunak’s cabinet and LGBTQ+ rights

Braverman is part of a cabinet that is unlikely to instil hope within LGBTQ+ voters.

Dominic Raab will stage his comeback as deputy prime minister and as justice secretary, roles he held under Boris Johnson.

In August, it was revealed that he was planning to house prisoners based on their genitals rather than their gender, a move that was condemned by LGBTQ+ activists.

Jeremy Hunt will retain his position as chancellor. He is generally seen as an LGBTQ+ ally within the Conservative Party.

James Cleverly will keep his post as foreign secretary. He’s among one of the most pro-LGBTQ+ ministers in government – he is a longtime supporter of same-sex marriage and has voiced his support for the trans community. 

Therese Coffey moves from health to environment. She has repeatedly come under fire for her anti-LGBTQ+ track record and for her failure to take meaningful action on monkeypox. She is no longer deputy PM.

Elsewhere, Ben Wallace will retain the defence portfolio. He is a strong opponent to same-sex marriage and once said allowing gay people to serve in the army would cause “sexual friction”.

Another concerning appointment is Oliver Dowden as chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The former Conservative Party chair gave a speech to anti-LGBTQ+ think-tank The Heritage Fund in February in which he spoke out against “social justice warriors” for “obsessing over pronouns”.

Nadhim Zahawi leaves the equalities office just weeks after he was appointed to the post by Liz Truss. Instead he will serve as minister without portfolio and chair of the party.

Zahawi sparked fears over a new version of Section 28 during his Tory leadership bid in the summer when he vowed to “focus on letting children be children, protecting them from damaging and inappropriate nonsense being forced on them by radical activists”.

Other appointments to Rishi Sunak’s cabinet includes Simon Hart as chief whip, Michael Gove as levelling up secretary and Grant Shapps as business secretary, while Penny Mordaunt will retain her post as leader of the house.

Before appointing his new cabinet, Sunak began the process of sacking some who served under Liz Truss during her brief time in No 10. Others quit before they could be given the axe.

Kit Malthouse was sacked as education secretary. Elsewhere, Ranil Jayawarena resigned as environment secretary, while Jacob Rees-Mogg quite as business secretary.

Brandon Lewis, who served as justice secretary under Truss, also issued his resignation before he could be sacked.