Theresa May expected to appoint women to some of most senior cabinet roles

New British PM's first round of appointments saw surprise selection of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary

theresa may, uk

Theresa May, followed by her husband Philip John, arrives at 10 Downing Street yesterday | Photo: PA Images

Theresa May is set to continue hiring and firing cabinet ministers as she begins her first full day as the UK's Prime Minister.

It is anticipated that a significant proportion of the remaining top roles, which include Health Secretary and the Work and Pensions Secretary, will be given to women.

There are some potentially interesting decisions to come, such as whether leadership rival Andrea Leadsom will be given a position, and where allies including Chris Grayling, Justine Greening and Brandon Lewis may fall in the new line-up.

Meanwhile, the wait continues for the likes of Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt, whose ministerial careers have been left hanging in the balance as Mrs May selects her team.

Speculation is growing that the new PM might reorganise some government departments, too - with newly created roles such as International Trade Secretary likely absorbing some of the responsibilities typically delegated to the Department for Business.

Last night, Mrs May received congratulations from Taoiseach Enda Kenny, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.

During the phone calls, she "emphasised her commitment to leave the European Union", according to Number 10.

Mr Kenny and Mrs May spoke about the Northern Ireland peace process and the challenges for the Republic and the North when Brexit happens, a spokesperson for the Fine Gael leader said. 

Boris Johnson appointment

It followed the first round of cabinet appointments, which saw the surprise selection of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary.

That announcement was an early indicator that Mrs May is taking a "you wanted it, you sort it out" attitude to Brexit.

This became even clearer when Out campaigner David Davis was given the new role of Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

Another Vote Leave supporter, Liam Fox, was appointed Secretary of State for International Trade - meaning the UK's representatives abroad thus far are all politicians who campaigned to leave the EU.

Last night, Mr Johnson said he was "humbled" and "proud" to be asked to serve as Foreign Secretary.

It comes less than two weeks after he pulled out of the Conservative leadership race.

Others were less pleased, with Labour leadership contender Angela Eagle turning her back on an audience mid-speech after she learned about Mr Johnson's appointment. She appeared lost for words.

The biggest departure from the Cabinet yesterday was George Osborne.

The Chancellor who warned of post-Brexit disaster has been replaced by Philip Hammond, who will no doubt be re-examining those Treasury reports.

Amber Rudd, a Remainer and staunch Theresa May supporter during her brief campaign, received the next biggest job - enjoying a significant promotion from Energy Secretary to Home Secretary.

The upcoming flurry of appointments and disappointments is all in another day's work for Mrs May, who has already had the most extraordinary fortnight of her career.

In a speech in Downing Street, the UK's second female Prime Minister said the decisions of her administration would not be driven by the interests of the "privileged few".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed Mrs May's focus on helping the less well-off, but repeated his party's calls for her to hold a snap General Election.