British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has appointed former leader David Cameron as foreign minister in a reshuffle prompted by the firing of interior minister Suella Braverman. Braverman’s criticism of the police had threatened Sunak’s authority. This move is seen as an attempt by Sunak to bring in a more centrist and experienced figure, rather than appease the right-wing supporters of Braverman. However, Cameron’s appointment has reignited the divisive debate over Brexit, as he was the one who held the referendum on EU membership in 2016 and campaigned to remain. His return to politics has shocked the Conservative Party, with centrist lawmakers welcoming it and right-wing members describing it as a “Brexit surrender.”
Sunak’s decision to remove Braverman and reshuffle his cabinet was influenced by pressure from opposition lawmakers and members of his own party. Braverman’s unauthorized article accusing the police of “double standards” at protests, particularly regarding pro-Palestinian demonstrations, forced Sunak’s hand. The opposition Labour Party claims that her comments further inflamed tensions between different groups during recent protests.
Cameron’s appointment has been met with mixed reactions within the Conservative Party. Lawmakers from the centrist wing believe it brings international experience and sends a message that the party is not moving further to the right. However, some on the right feel that the “remain” wing of the party has taken over, given Cameron’s role in the Brexit vote. There are concerns that Braverman’s removal and Cameron’s return will exacerbate the divisions within the party.
James Cleverly, the former foreign minister, has been appointed to replace Braverman. He is considered a safe choice and has emphasized his commitment to keeping the country safe in his new role. With Braverman out of the picture, there is speculation that she may focus on preparing for a future leadership race if the Conservatives lose the expected election next year.
Sunak’s decision to appoint Cameron has been seen by opposition lawmakers as an act of desperation. The Labour Party has consistently held a significant lead in the polls, and Sunak has struggled to close the gap. His attempt to present himself as a representative of change at the party’s conference was overshadowed by a poorly communicated decision to cancel a major rail project. Labour has criticized Sunak for his perceived weakness, and they view his appointment of Cameron as a contradiction to his claims of offering change.
In conclusion, Sunak’s reshuffle, which included the appointment of David Cameron as foreign minister, has sparked debate and division within the Conservative Party. While some see it as a move towards the center and a signal to moderate voters, others view it as a surrender to the remain wing of the party. The upcoming election and the party’s struggle to close the gap in the polls add further complexity to the situation.
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