Rishi Sunak shocked Westminster on Monday when he restored David Cameron to his political frontline in the role of foreign secretary. This was part of a dramatic cabinet restructuring that also saw controversial home secretary Suella braverman sacked.
James Cleverly was the moderate foreign secretary who replaced Braverman as the Home Office. This shift in the UK Prime Minister’s direction towards the center alarmed those on the right of Conservative Party.
Sunak will clash with her hardline colleagues when the Supreme Court decides on Braverman’s plan to send refugees to Rwanda on Wednesday. She will likely renew her call for Britain to leave the European Convention on Human Rights if it is found to be illegal.
Braverman stated: “It was the greatest honor of my life that I served as Home Secretary. In due time, I will be able to add more.
Dame Andrea Jenkyns is a Tory backbencher from the right. She said that she had sent a letter of disapproval to Sunak’s party leaders. She added, “It’s time to replace Rishi Sunak with a real Conservative Party leader.”
The Conservatives are trailing Labour in the opinion polls by over 20 percentage points. This reshuffle is Sunak’s final chance to build a team before the next election.
The biggest shock was when Cameron who had played virtually no role in politics since quitting his position as Prime Minister after the Brexit referendum of 2016, was appointed Foreign Secretary.
Sunak promised to “change” the prime minister in his Tory Party conference speech of last month. Now he is turning to his former centrist counterpart for help.
Sunak’s decision to show a more amiable face to the public is evident in the appointment of Cleverly, a softer-spoken Tory from the Home Counties, and the reinstatement of Cameron, a traditional Home Counties Tory. The new Foreign Secretary will be made a life peer.
Cameron, who served as prime minister from 2010 to 2016, faces a number of immediate challenges, including the conflict between Israel and Hamas and the war in Ukraine.
He stated that his commitment to public service motivated him to take on the role. His six years as Prime Minister and 11 years of Tory leadership had equipped him with “useful knowledge, contacts and relationships”.
Cameron, who criticised Sunak for cancelling the northern leg of the HS2 rail program recently, said that he “disagreed” with “some individual decisions”, but Sunak “showed exemplary leadership in a time of difficulty”.
According to two people who were briefed about the appointment, Cameron was approached on Wednesday of last week regarding the role as foreign secretary.
Former Prime Minister was at the center of the largest lobbying scandal to hit Britain in decades. It revealed that he secretly pressured former colleagues in the government for his employer Greensill Capital.
After leaving Downing Street, he spent several years trying to establish a £1bn UK-China Investment Fund. However, by 2021 this project had been abandoned due to the worsening of relations between Beijing’s and London’s.
Pat McFadden said, “This puts an end to the Prime Minister’s laughable claim that he can offer change after 13 years of Tory incompetence.”
Sunak, the new minister for women’s affairs at Downing Street, said that she “doesn’t feel the need to tick the box of diversity”.
Sunak’s supporters believe that the political fallout from Braverman being fired can be contained. One said, “She doesn’t have an army behind” her. Braverman lost her government job 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 described Number 10 as “clowns”.
The acrimonious manner of her departure suggests that she could mount a future Tory Leadership bid from the backbenches with the support of members of the Common Sense Group, a right-wing group of Conservative MPs.
Downing Street stated that there were “differences in style” and language used by Sunak and Braverman. They added: “Collective Responsibility is an important principle.” . . “It is crucial that senior ministers have a united voice.”
Number 10 described the reshuffle in terms of a chance to promote young ministers and remove some underperforming cabinet members ahead of an expected election next year.
Sunak’s spokeswoman said, “It is an opportunity for Prime Minister to have a united and strong team.”
Victoria Atkins replaced Steve Barclay in the Health Department. He was named environment secretary to replace Therese Coffy, who resigned.
Atkins, who was elected to the House of Commons as a member in 2015, has now taken on her first cabinet position. She previously served as the financial secretary for the Treasury.
Laura Trott, the former pensions Minister, replaced Atkins in the Treasury. Richard Holden was appointed Conservative Party Chair.
Sunak appointed former Pensions Secretary Esther McVey of the rightwing Tory Party as a minister without portfolio in the Cabinet Office.
McVey, dubbed “minister of common sense” by insiders in the government, is expected to be the leader when it comes to tackling the “woke” cultural.