David Cameron was made Prime Minister last night and is today piecing together a cabinet which will include Nick Clegg as his deputy under a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.
An agreement was reached yesterday evening between the two parties and will see senior Liberal Democrats take up positions in the Cabinet. Other details of the agreement will be outlined today.
Some cabinet positions have already been announced. For one, Tory George Osborne will take up office at number 11 Downing Street as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vince Cable was this morning rumoured to effectively become second in command at number 11 with a remit for business and banking but there are now suggestions he will be made Business Minister after it was announced that Ken Clarke, who has served as both Chancellor and Home Secretary under former Conservative administrations and was Shadow Business Minister, will be the new Justice Secretary.
Other prominent Conservatives to be given jobs so far include William Hague who will serve as Foreign Secretary, Andrew Lansbury as Health Secretary and Liam Fox who will be in charge of Defence. Theresa May is the new Home Secretary and Ken Clarke who has served as both Chancellor and Home Secretary under former Conservative administrations is Justice Secretary. Clarke had been Shadow Business Minister but that role in the new Cabinet remains, as yet, unfilled.
Chris Huhne – the Liberal Democrat who narrowly lost out to Clegg in the party’s 2007 leadership battle – is expected to become Energy and Climate Secretary.
An announcement will be given this afternoon when other roles will be made clear and Cameron and Clegg will outline the first steps they will take to begin balancing Britain’s books.
Business related measures in the Tory manifesto included:
• The headline rate of corporation tax to be reduced to 25p. The rate for small companies will be reduced to 20p.
• This to be partly funded by restructuring of capital allowances.
• The planned 1 per cent rise in employer National Insurance contributions scheduled for next year to be scrapped on salaries under £35,000.
• £2,000 bonus for SMEs hiring new apprentices.