David Cameron finalises cabinet with more posts for Liberal Democrats

David Cameron finalises cabinet with more posts for Liberal Democrats
# 13 May 2010 23:23 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. David Cameron demonstrated the depth of his "big, open and comprehensive offer" to the Liberal Democrats tonight by appointing number of the party’s MPs and peers to middle-ranking ministerial posts across Whitehall, APA reports quoting guardian.go.uk website.

In a move that will help appease Lib Dem critics of the coalition, a veteran founding member of the SDP was appointed as a minister of state under Kenneth Clarke at the ministry of justice.

Lord McNally, the Lib Dem leader in the House of Lords, is a highly respected figure in the party after he broke with the Labour party in 1981 to join the SDP. McNally, 67, first made his name as head of Jim Callaghan’s political office in Downing Street between 1976-79.

The announcement that six Lib Dems would have the middle-ranking status of minister of state came after the coalition cabinet held its first meeting today. The cabinet agreed that ministers of all ranks would take a 5% pay cut as a modest first step towards cutting the costs of government by saving £300,000.

A subsequent pay freeze means £3m will be saved from the ministerial wages bill over the planned five-year life of the coalition.

The prime minister will take a £7,500 cut to take his salary to £142,500. Cabinet ministers, including the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, will take a £7,082 cut to take their salaries to £134,565.

Ministers of state will earn £98,740 while junior ministers, known as parliamentary under secretaries of state, will earn £89,435.

Cameron spent much of the day after the cabinet meeting appointing ministers to the middle ranks of his government. Tonight Downing Street announced the names of 27 ministers plus the solicitor general, Edward Garnier, and the Lords chief whip, Baroness Anelay of St Johns.

The six Lib Dems, who were appointed by Cameron in consultation with Clegg, showed that the deputy prime minister is carefully balancing his party members in government. Jeremy Browne, the MP for Taunton who first made his name as a Lib Dem press officer when Lord Ashdown led the party, was appointed as a foreign office minister. Browne is a strong supporter of the coalition.

His presence is balanced by the appointment of the welfare expert Steve Webb to the department of work and pensions, giving him the honour of being the only professor to sit in the government. Webb, who is on the left of the party, was once subject to a tirade by Clegg.

The Sunday Mirror reported Clegg as saying to the new Scotland secretary, Danny Alexander, on a flight in 2008: "Webb must go. He’s a problem. I can’t stand the man. We need a new spokesman. We have to move him. We need someone with good ideas. At the moment, they just don’t add up. But we need to keep him in the cabinet. As a backbencher, he’d be a pain in the arse, a voice for the left. And we can’t move him before the spring."
Other Lib Dem appointments include the veteran frontbencher Nick Harvey, who becomes minister for the armed forces; rising star Sarah Teather becomes an education minister and the former chief whip Paul Burstow becomes a health minister.

The Tory appointments were led by Damian Green who becomes immigration minister. There were six posts for former members of the Tory shadow cabinet who did not make it to the cabinet.

They are: Nick Herbert, who becomes a joint home office and ministry of justice minister with responsibility for the police; Lady Neville-Jones, security minister; Chris Grayling, work and pensions minister; Greg Clark and Grant Shapps, communities and local government ministers; and Theresa Villiers, transport minister.