Former UK PM back in senior government role

2023-11-14 10:39:16China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Former United Kingdom prime minister David Cameron has returned to high office following a Cabinet reshuffle on Monday.

Cameron's appointment to the position of foreign secretary was, perhaps, the biggest surprise on a day full of shocks, in which Prime Minister Rishi Sunak fired Suella Braverman from her role as home secretary, largely because of a newspaper article she wrote without Sunak's permission, in which she criticized the Metropolitan Police.

James Cleverly, who had previously served as foreign secretary, was announced as Braverman's replacement, freeing up the foreign secretary position for Cameron.

Many experts have said Braverman appears to have deliberately provoked Sunak, perhaps because she is contemplating launching a challenge to his leadership.

The BBC quoted the prime minister's official spokesman as saying: "This reshuffle will give the prime minister a united team to deliver the change this country needs for the long term."

The UK is headed for a general election in 2024, with the ruling Conservative Party widely tipped to lose heavily to the Labour Party, based on current polling.

Cameron has had a very low profile since standing down in 2016, immediately after the UK held a referendum on whether the country should leave the European Union. Cameron had campaigned for the UK to remain part of the bloc, but the referendum result showed the nation's voters had narrowly decided they wanted to leave.

Cameron also stood down as a member of Parliament, but was awarded a seat in the House of Lords — the UK's second chamber — through which he will now be able to return to government.

Cameron said after his appointment as foreign secretary that he looked forward to being "part of the strongest possible team that serves the United Kingdom". His return to government was surprising, given that Sunak has criticized the failings of previous administrations in past speeches, including Cameron's, and that Cameron has been critical of the current government, especially for its decision to cut the UK's aid budget, from 0.7 percent of national income to 0.5 percent. As foreign secretary, he will now have significant input into how much money the UK spends on international aid.

Sunak also made several other changes to his Cabinet on Monday, with environment secretary Therese Coffey saying it was "now the right time" for her "to step back from government", and junior minister Jesse Norman standing down from his role in the Department for Transport, saying "it had been a great honour to serve in successive governments since 2016".

Schools minister Nick Gibb also stood down, after being asked to do so by the prime minister, as did junior health ministers Will Quince and Neil O'Brien and housing minister Rachel Maclean, according to Downing Street sources.


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