LONDON (Agencies): In a surprising move, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reinstated former leader David Cameron as foreign minister on Monday as part of a reshuffle triggered by the dismissal of Interior Minister Suella Braverman. Braverman’s criticism of police handling of protests had jeopardized Sunak’s authority.
The reshuffle reflects Sunak’s attempt to bring in more centrist and experienced figures rather than appease the right-wing faction of his party, which had supported Braverman. The return of Cameron also revives debates over Brexit, as he was the architect of the 2016 referendum that led to Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
Braverman’s removal was prompted by her unauthorized article accusing the police of “double standards” at protests, suggesting bias against right-wing demonstrators compared to pro-Palestinian marchers. The opposition Labour Party argued that her comments heightened tensions between opposing groups during recent demonstrations.
While Braverman’s dismissal was expected, Cameron’s appointment surprised the Conservative Party. Centrist lawmakers welcomed it, seeing it as a move toward international experience and a signal to moderate voters. However, some on the right criticized it as the “ultimate Brexit surrender,” given Cameron’s stance in favor of remaining in the EU.
Cameron expressed his willingness to take on the role, emphasizing the importance of the UK standing by its allies and strengthening partnerships in a time of global change. The move has stirred mixed reactions within the party, with concerns from those who view it as a shift away from right-wing principles.
James Cleverly, the former foreign minister, replaced Braverman. With Braverman sidelined, attention turns to her potential future role in the party’s leadership race, especially if the Conservatives face challenges in the upcoming elections. The Labour Party maintains a consistent lead in the polls, and Sunak’s efforts to reduce the gap have yet to yield significant results.
Labour criticized Sunak’s decision to appoint Cameron, portraying it as an act of desperation and contradictory to Sunak’s earlier characterization of Cameron as part of a “failed status quo.” The reshuffle comes at a crucial time for Sunak as he seeks to strengthen his position before the anticipated elections next year.