Former British Prime Minister David Cameron returned to high office on Monday, becoming Foreign Secretary in a significant shakeup of the Conservative cabinet that also saw the dismissal of contentious Home Secretary Suella Braverman.
Cameron was appointed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a Cabinet shuffle in which he sacked Braverman, a law-and-order hardliner who drew criticism for accusing police of being overly lenient with pro-Palestinian protesters.
Suella Braverman’s dismissal triggered a massive cabinet change by Rishi Sunak, who is reshaping his senior team ahead of the Autumn Statement next week.
On Saturday, far-right protestors clashed with police and attempted to block a huge pro-Palestinian march through the streets of London. Critics accused Braverman of inflaming tensions.
Braverman penned an essay for the Times of London last week in which she claimed the police “play favourites when it comes to protesters” and treated pro-Palestinian demonstrators and Black Lives Matter supporters more leniently than right-wing protesters or football hooligans.
The prime minister’s office did not authorise the piece in advance, as is customary.
“It has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve as home secretary,” Braverman said Monday, adding that she would “have more to say in due course.”
Suella Braverman, a 43-year-old lawyer, has emerged as the party’s populist leader, supporting ever-tougher immigration controls as well as a war on human rights safeguards, liberal social norms, and the “tofu-eating wokerati.” She dubbed migration a “hurricane” last month, saying it will bring “millions more immigrants to these shores, uncontrolled and unmanageable.”
As home secretary, Braverman advocated for the government’s blocked plan to transfer asylum seekers arriving in Britain by sea to Rwanda. On Wednesday, the United Kingdom Supreme Court will rule on whether the policy is legitimate.
According to critics, Braverman has been raising her profile in order to prepare herself for a party leadership battle if the Conservatives lose power in the upcoming election.
Steve Barclay has taken over as environment secretary from Therese Coffey, with Treasury minister Victoria Atkins elevated to take over as health secretary.
Meanwhile, former Transport Secretary Richard Holden has been chosen Tory Party Chairman, and Laura Trott has been appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury, succeeding John Glen.
David Cameron has been absent from Parliament since resigning as Prime Minister in 2016, but he has been allocated a seat in the House of Lords to allow him to take up his new role.
Cameron was named to Parliament’s unelected upper body, the House of Lords, according to the administration. Peter Carrington, a member of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 1980s, was the last foreign secretary to serve in the Lords rather than the elected House of Commons.
Cameron, 57, stated that Britain is “facing a daunting set of international challenges, including the war in Ukraine and the crisis in the Middle East.”
David Cameron left a mixed legacy on foreign policy. As Prime Minister, he supported the NATO-led military action in Libya in 2011, which deposed Moammar Gadhafi and exacerbated the country’s turmoil.
In 2013, he attempted and failed to obtain Parliament’s approval for UK airstrikes in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad’s army. He also declared a brief “golden era” in UK-China relations, just before that relationship collapsed.
And he will be remembered as the unintentional architect of Brexit, a schism that shook Britain’s politics, economy, and status in the world. Cameron scheduled a referendum on EU membership in 2016, certain that the UK would vote to remain in the bloc. He resigned the day following the referendum.