Theresa May chairs first cabinet meet as British PM, asks minister to 'make Brexit work for Britain'

Theresa May on Tuesday chaired her first Cabinet meeting as British Prime Minister with a call out to her ministers to 'make Brexit work for Britain'.

PTI July 19, 2016 18:20:43 IST
Theresa May chairs first cabinet meet as British PM, asks minister to 'make Brexit work for Britain'

London: Theresa May on Tuesday chaired her first Cabinet meeting as British Prime Minister with a call out to her ministers to "make Brexit work for Britain".

Theresa May chairs first cabinet meet as British PM asks minister to make Brexit work for Britain

File image of Theresa May. Reuters

She, however, underlined she did not want her government to be "defined by Brexit" as work gets underway for Britain to begin its exit from the European Union following the historic 23 June referendum.

"It will be the responsibility of everyone sitting around the Cabinet table to make Brexit work for Britain," she said. "We will not allow the country to be defined by Brexit, but instead will build the education, skills and social mobility to allow everyone to prosper from the opportunities of leaving the EU," she added.

The meeting comes days after the 59-year-old Prime Minister set her stamp on the new government by shaking up nearly the entire set of ministerial portfolios. Of the 22 full members of the Cabinet and five who have the right to attend Cabinet meetings, only five - Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns, Scottish Secretary David Mundell and Attorney General Jeremy Wright - retained the roles they held previously under David Cameron.

Indian-origin minister Priti Patel, who previously had the right to attend Cabinet meetings as a junior minister, on Tuesday took her position as a full-fledged minister in charge of the Department for International Development (DfID). Other key appointments included Philip Hammond as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Boris Johnson as foreign secretary, Amber Rudd as Home Secretary and Justine Greening as Education Secretary.

David Davis has been put in charge of a brand new ministry to take the UK out of the EU. May, who has already held talks with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones, received a boost on Monday when MPs overwhelmingly voted by a majority of 355 to proceed with the full renewal of the UK's Trident nuclear weapons system.

She faces her first Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, after which she will travel to Germany for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. On Thursday, she will meet French President Francois Hollande.

May has said she does not expect the UK to officially notify the EU of its intention to leave, which involves triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, before the end of the year.

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