David Cameron returns to UK government as foreign secretary
David Cameron returns to UK government as foreign secretary Former PM makes surprise comeback as part of reshuffle in which Suella Braverman replaced by James Cleverly as home secretary
David Cameron has returned to government as the UK's foreign secretary, a stunning comeback for the former prime minister that underscores Rishi Sunak's willingness to take risks as he seeks to revive his political fortunes.
Downing Street announced on Monday that Cameron would join the government, taking on a peerage to do so, as part of a wider reshuffle in which Suella Braverman was sacked as home secretary and replaced by foreign secretary James Cleverley.
A spokesman also confirmed that Jeremy Hunt would remain as chancellor. However, Environment Secretary, Therese Coffey, who was Deputy Prime Minister under Liz Truss, has resigned, to be replaced by Health Secretary, Steve Barclay.
Barclay will be replaced in health by Victoria Atkins, a junior Treasury minister, Richard Holden, a junior transport minister, will replace Greg Hands as party chair.
Cameron said on Monday afternoon that he was "delighted to accept" Sunak's offer and added: "I believe in public service."
He said on X, formerly known as Twitter: "Although I have been out of front-line politics for the past seven years, I hope that my experience - eleven years as Conservative leader and six years as Prime Minister - will help me to help the Prime Minister. Minister to address this vital challenge.”
Cameron stood down in 2016 after losing the Brexit referendum, but reportedly told friends in 2018 that he wanted to return to front-line politics, specifically as foreign secretary.
Since then he has maintained a relatively low profile, although he was embroiled in scandal two years ago when he lobbied government ministers for funding for the now bankrupt financial services firm Greenseal Capital.
He insisted that the Greenseal scandal would not cause him problems in his new job, saying: “All these issues were dealt with by the Treasury Select Committee and other inquiries at the time, and they have been dealt with as far as I'm concerned. And I now have a job in the past and that is as Britain's foreign secretary."
He returned to the headlines last month when he said Sunak's decision to scrap the HS2 high-speed train line between Birmingham and Manchester was wrong, adding: "We're going in the wrong direction."
Cameron has also been a strong supporter of the UK maintaining its pledge to spend 0.7% of gross national income on international aid, a pledge Sunak has since scrapped.
Downing Street said on Monday that Cameron would be expected to retain collective responsibility in his new role, hinting that Braverman had been sacked for not doing so. The former home secretary sparked controversy last week by writing an article in The Times accusing the police of bias in the way they police protests. The piece caused consternation in Downing Street, not least because he did not include some of the significant changes demanded by the Prime Minister's advisers.
Sunak's decision to bring Cameron back could please moderates in the Conservative Party who are dismayed by Braverman's aggressive right-wing rhetoric on issues such as immigration, policing and homelessness.
It could also fuel anger on the party's right, particularly after leading the failed campaign to remain in the EU, Cameron's last meaningful political move.
Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg told GB News: “I think from the point of view of the Conservatives winning the next election, today is a mistake because Swella understood what British voters were thinking and tried to do something about it.
“It seems to me that the Prime Minister is not as in tune with the concerns of voters as Suella Braverman.
Simon Clarke, a backbench MP and ally of both Liz Truss and Boris Johnson, posted an apparently suggestive tweet about the omission of footballer Raheem Sterling from the England squad. "Some controversial choices from the manager here, to put it very mildly," Clarke posted. “A lack of options on the right wing is never wise – there is a risk of the squad being badly unbalanced.
Some MPs were also unhappy with Sunak's decision to remove Rachel McLean as housing secretary. Kimmy Badenoch, the trade secretary, tweeted: “Very sorry to see you leave the government, @redditchrachel. You were a wonderful, minister, always attentive to MPs and their MPs and got some very complex legislation down the line!
Downing Street had not appointed a replacement housing secretary by mid-afternoon, amid reports that several MPs had turned down the job.
Reaction to Cameron's appointment: Labour's national campaign co-ordinator Pat McFadden MP said: “A few weeks ago Rishi Sunak said David Cameron was part of a failed status quo, now he's bringing him back as a life ruffian.
“It puts to bed the Prime Minister's ludicrous claim to offer a change to 13 years of Tory failure.