Gordon Brown finally entered 10 Downing Street on 27 June as prime minister –
the role he has coveted for the best part of a decade – and immediately vowed to
adhere to his old school motto, “I will try my utmost.”
During his first speech as prime minister, Brown said: “I will build a
government that uses all the talents; I will invite men and women of goodwill to
contribute their energies in a new spirit of public service to make our nation
what it can be.”
No sooner had Brown crossed the threshold of number 10, ironically the
official residence of the ‘First Lord of the Treasury’, than he got his teeth
into one of the most radical Cabinet overhauls of all time which,
coincidentally, resulted in ten sackings, resignations or demotions.
Long-time supporter of Brown, Alistair Darling, was handed the keys to number 11
– although just how much autonomy he will enjoy in the role remains to be seen.
The rumours are that Brown may split the Treasury in two – an Office of the
National Budget and a separate body looking after regulatory matters. Darling
had long been favourite to take over Brown’s former role and will work alongside
Andy Burnham, who was appointed chief secretary to the Treasury.
Brown completed his shake-up of the Treasury team with a change of personnel.
The watered down title of paymaster general was handed to Olympics minister
Tessa Jowell, while former chief secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Timms, was
appointed as Hutton’s deputy.
John Hutton was asked to lead a new Department for Business, Enterprise and
Regulatory Reform – a cut-down version of the DTI – while John Denham was
appointed secretary of state for another new department for Innovation,
Universities and Skills (DIUS). DIUS will be responsible for the development of
science, research and innovation.
The voice of business
Sir Digby Jones, former director general of the Confederation of British
Industry, was handed a junior role in Brown’s government in a move that will see
him step down from his Deloitte role. Sir Digby is to become minister of state
for trade and investment in the Department for Business, Enterprise and
Regulatory Reform. He will also chair UK Trade and Investment to help push the
case for British business.
Sir Digby said he was looking forward to “banging the drum for British
Efforts to broker a world trade deal will be spearheaded by Douglas Alexander,
who was appointed as the head of an enlarged international development brief.
The new body will share responsibility for trade policy with Hutton’s department
for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory reform.