ICYMI

November 13, 2023

David Cameron returns to UK govt after Suella Braverman is sacked

David Cameron returns to UK govt after Suella Braverman is sacked

David Cameron arriving at 10 Downing Street on Monday © Sam Hall/PA/FT

Rishi Sunak, on Monday, stunned Westminster by restoring David Cameron to the political frontline as foreign secretary. This was after sacking home secretary Suella Braverman.

James Cleverly, who was foreign secretary, replaced Braverman at the Home Office. The objective is to calm community tensions after a weekend of protest and violence.

However, the biggest surprise came when Cameron was handed the post of foreign secretary. Jeremy Hunt remains as chancellor.

Sunak used his Conservative party conference speech last month to promise to be the “change” prime minister. He denounced the failures of “30 years of consensus”. Now he has turned to his centrist predecessor for help.

With the Tories trailing Labour by more than 20 points in opinion polls, the reshuffle represents Sunak’s last throw of the dice in terms of building a team ahead of the next election.

The move of the emollient Cleverly to the Home Office and the restoration of Cameron, a classic Home Counties Tory, suggests Sunak has decided to present a less abrasive face to the public. Cameron will become a life peer.

Cameron, Tory prime minister from 2010-16, was recently at the centre of the biggest lobbying scandal in Britain for decades. This was when the Financial Times revealed he had secretly lobbied former colleagues in government on behalf of his employer Greensill Capital.

He also spent several years after leaving Downing Street trying to set up a $1bn UK-China investment fund. But by 2021 the project was mothballed amid worsening relations between Beijing and London.

Reactions

“A few weeks ago Rishi Sunak said David Cameron was part of a failed status quo. Now he’s bringing him back as his life raft,” said Pat McFadden, Labour’s campaign chief. “This puts to bed the prime minister’s laughable claim to offer change from 13 years of Tory failure.”

Braverman’s sacking will provoke a backlash from some rightwing Tory MPs. But Sunak’s allies believe the political fallout can be contained.

“She hasn’t got an army behind her,” said one ally of the prime minister.

The home secretary was sacked after she wrote an article last week accusing the police of bias. Downing Street said it had not “been cleared”. Braverman’s allies on Sunday night described No 10 as “clowns”.

The acrimonious nature of her departure suggests Braverman may now mount a campaign for a future Tory leadership bid from the backbenchers. This can be backed by members of the rightwing Common Sense Group of Tory MPs.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will rule on Wednesday on her plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. If it is deemed unlawful, Braverman will probably renew her calls for Britain to quit the European Convention on Human Rights. Financial Times

Vanguard News