UK: David Cameron returns to government as foreign secretary

World Monday 13/November/2023 15:45 PM
By: DW
UK: David Cameron returns to government as foreign secretary

London: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak began a Cabinet reshuffle on Monday, which has seen former Prime Minister David Cameron return to goverment.

Cameron has replaced former Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who in turn replaced Suella Braverman after she was sacked as home secretary.
What have Cameron and Braverman said about the reshuffle?

Braverman caused controversy last week after penning an article in The Times in which she described "pro-Palestinian mobs" as "disturbingly reminscent" of scenes during the height of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Braverman's comments have been criticised as having stoked tension ahead of a pro-Palestinian march in London on Saturday, November 11, the UK's Remembrance Day, which also saw violent scenes involving far-right protesters.

"It has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve as home secretary," she said, according to the BBC. "I will have more to say in due course."

Cameron himself recently made headlines when he publicly criticized Sunak's decision to scrap the Birmingham-Manchester leg of a high-speed rail project known as as HS2.

"Though I may have disagreed with some individual decisions, it is clear to me that Rishi Sunak is a strong and capable Prime Minister, who is showing exemplary leadership at a difficult time," Cameron wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, confirming his appointment.

"We are facing a daunting set of international challenges, including the war in Ukraine and the crisis in the Middle East. At this time of profound global change, it has rarely been more important for this country to stand by our allies, strengthen our partnerships and make sure our voice is heard."

Who is David Cameron?
Associated more with the center of the Conservative Party, Cameron was party leader from 2005 to 2016 and prime minister from 2010-2016, the youngest person to hold the office since 1812.

He resigned after calling and losing the 2016 referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union, ushering in a tumultuous period in British politics which has seen the Conservative Party lurch further to the populist right.

After leaving the British government in 2016, Cameron was implicated in the "Greensill scandal" after it was reported by the Financial Times and The Sunday Times that he had lobbied the then Chancellor of the Exchequer — the British finance minister — Sunak to allow struggling financial services company Greensill Capital to access pandemic-related government support in 2021.

Three separate inquiries found that Cameron had not broken any lobbying rules, nor had he acted unlawfully.

Outside the UK, Cameron has also been associated with Chinese interests in the Indo-Pacific, notably championing the controversial multi-billion-dollar Colombo Port City project in Sri Lanka, part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative, as reported by Politico last month.

Who is Suella Braverman?
A key figure on the right-wing of the UK's ruling Conservative Party, Braverman was a committed Brexiteer who has also made headlines for her plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda — plans which were criticsed as "unacceptable" by the European Court of Human Rights.

After resigning as home secretary in September 2022 during the short premiership of former Prime Minister Liss Truss after sending official documents from her personal email address, she was reinstated to the position six days later by Rishi Sunak.

Considered to be a favourite for party leader among the right of the Conservative Party, she made headlines with extreme remarks on immigration and a recent description of homelessness as a "lifestyle choice."