Factbox-Seven turbulent years: British ministerial churn since the Brexit vote

By Sarah Young

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak named former leader David Cameron as foreign secretary on Monday, in the latest wave of turbulence in Westminster since the Brexit vote in 2016.

Britain was once known for its stable politics – it had just four finance ministers in 23 years before 2016 – but the vote to leave the European Union triggered an earthquake in the governing Conservative Party and a battle to shape the country’s future outside the bloc.

Below outlines some of the rapid turnover of ministers in key departments, which some analysts say has weakened government as many take on crucial roles with little experience.


Cameron served as prime minister until July 13, 2016, three weeks after the Brexit vote on June 23. There have been four prime ministers since, making it five in seven years, the biggest period of change since the 1920s.

Cameron was succeeded by three years of Theresa May before she was ousted and replaced by Boris Johnson. He also lasted three years before a ministerial rebellion forced him to quit, and he handed over to Liz Truss.

She holds the record for Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister after she quit after 49 days, having triggered a financial market meltdown.

Sunak was next, taking office in October 2022.


There have been seven foreign secretaries in seven years.

Cameron, prime minister from 2010-2016, on Monday replaced James Cleverly who had been in the job since September 2022. He took over from Truss, who had held the post for a year.

Dominic Raab held the job from 2019 until September 2021, before he was moved over criticism that he remained on holiday in Crete as the Taliban advanced on Kabul.

Jeremy Hunt, the current finance minister, held the office from 2018-2019, with former prime minister Johnson in situ for two years from July 2016 to July 2018. Philip Hammond was foreign secretary from July 2014 until three weeks after the Brexit vote in 2016.


Britain’s interior ministry has changed leadership eight times since the Brexit vote, including Cleverly who stepped into the role on Monday. Sunak sacked Suella Braverman earlier on Monday, prompting the reshuffle that brought in Cameron.

Her tenure of just over a year included a week when she was replaced by Grant Shapps after she was sacked for the first time by then leader Truss.


Hunt remains in his role. There have been seven finance ministers in seven years, including Sunak himself from February 2020 to July 2022, plus Nadhim Zahawi for two months in 2022 and then Kwasi Kwarteng for six weeks in September-October that year.


While not regarded as a great office of state, the shortage of housing in Britain is regarded as one of the country’s biggest problems for the future.

There have been 13 housing ministers since the Brexit vote, including six since Feb. 8, 2022.


Victoria Atkins on Monday became the seventh health minister since 2016. Steve Barclay had held the office twice over the last 18 months, once for two months and then, after a six-week break, again for a year until Monday.

She will assume oversight of the National Health Service (NHS), Britain’s state-funded health system that is facing one of the toughest periods in its 75-year history, including industrial action and record waiting lists.


The count is nine education ministers since mid-2016. Gillian Keegan, the current incumbent, is not expected to lose her job as part of the reshuffle on Monday.

(Editing by Kate Holton and Alex Richardson)