In a surprising turn of events, former British Prime Minister David Cameron has reentered government as the UK foreign secretary, marking a notable comeback that underscores Rishi Sunak’s inclination to take political risks in his bid to rejuvenate his standing.
Downing Street announced on Monday that Cameron would rejoin the government, having accepted a peerage for the role. This development is part of a broader reshuffle that saw Suella Braverman ousted as home secretary, with James Cleverly stepping in as her replacement. A spokesperson also confirmed Jeremy Hunt would retain his position as chancellor.
Cameron stepped down in 2016 following the Brexit referendum defeat but reportedly expressed his desire to return to frontline politics, preferably as foreign secretary, to friends in 2018.
Maintaining a relatively low profile since then, Cameron faced controversy two years ago when he lobbied government ministers for financial support for the now-insolvent financial services company Greensill Capital.
His recent resurgence into headlines occurred last month when he criticized Sunak’s decision to cancel the HS2 high-speed train line between Birmingham and Manchester, stating, “We are heading in the wrong direction.”
Sunak’s choice to bring back Cameron is likely to resonate with moderates in the Conservative party disheartened by Braverman’s assertively right-wing rhetoric on issues like immigration, policing, and homelessness. However, it may provoke discontent on the right of the party, especially considering Cameron’s last significant political action was leading the unsuccessful campaign to remain in the EU.
Responding to Cameron’s appointment, Pat McFadden MP, Labour’s National Campaign Coordinator, commented, “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. This puts to bed the prime minister’s laughable claim to offer change from 13 years of Tory failure.”