Virus: Suella sacked, ex-PM Cameron makes shock return as foreign secretary

LONDON: UK prime minister Rishi Sunak sacked Indian-origin home secretary Suella Braverman on Monday morning following a string of controversial comments she made and, in a shock move, appointed former UK PM David Cameron as foreign secretary during a dramatic reshuffle of his cabinet.
Braverman was fired as home secretary following a controversial op-ed she wrote for “The Times” in the UK which criticised the police’s handling of pro-Palestine protests, which had not been fully approved by No.10, as well as after describing the marches as “hate marches” and saying she wanted to stop the homeless living in tents, describing their unfortunate circumstances as a “lifestyle choice.”
Kwasi Kwarteng, former chancellor, told Times Radio it was “inevitable” that Braverman would leave office. “She was acting with increasing independence for months actually and I think that she made the prime minister’s position very difficult,” he said. “If he’d kept her, I think he would have looked weak, and she’d have essentially been enabled and empowered to say whatever she wanted.”
Cameron made a shock return to frontline politics after a seven-year absence, replacing James Cleverly as foreign secretary. Cleverly took up Braverman’s formerrole of home secretary. It is rare for a former PM to return to the Cabinet.
Sunak made Cameron a life peer as convention dictates that ministers belong to one of the Houses of Parliament and Cameron is not an MP, having quit as MP in 2016 shortly after resigning as PM following the Brexit referendum. He will now speak for the government in the House of Lords and MPs will no longer be able to ask questions of the foreign secretary in the House of Commons.
Former UK PM Theresa May welcomed the appointment, saying his immense experience on the international stage was invaluable. Conservative peer Lord Ranger told TOI: “The Indian diaspora views Cameron as a friend. He hosted PM Modi at Wembley in 2015 and said in his lifetime he will see an Indian PM. Not only has he seen one, but he is now working and supporting one. Cameron promoted diversity in his cabinet and visited temples, mosques, gurdwaras to make the party truly inclusive. He went to India soon after becoming PM and has worked hard for closer ties with India. He has a lot more gravitas with international leaders being a former PM and will be able to smooth Britain’s relationship with Europe. He is a staunch Indian supporter.”
Cameron is seen as a modern, centrist, compassionate leader.
Lord Heseltine, former Tory deputy PM, told Times Radio that the appointment of Lord Cameron as foreign secretary was an “important signal to the world” that the Conservative Party’s “right-wing lurch and anti-European movement” had been “put to bed”. Maros Sefcovic, the executive vice-president of the European Commission, welcomed Cameron’s return and said he looked forward to working with him.
But critics described his appointment as a “dead cat strategy”, whilst MP Jonathan Ashworth, shadow paymaster general, said: “This is more of the Tory psychodrama.”
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former Tory leader, who has been sanctioned by the Chinese regime, said he was “astonished” at the appointment since Cameron is very pro-China and had heralded the golden era in Sino-British relations.
Cameron said: “Though I may have disagreed with some individual decisions, it is clear to me that Rishi Sunak is a strong and capable prime minister, who is showing exemplary leadership at a difficult time. Britain is a truly international country. Our people live all over the world and our businesses trade in every corner of the globe. Working to help ensure stability and security on the global stage is both essential and squarely in our national interest.”
Braverman, who sits on the right of the party and whose father is of Goan descent, said: “It has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve as home secretary. I will have more to say in due course.”
Braverman had gravely offended India and nearly sank the UK-India FTA when she said in an interview with the “Spectator” in 2022 that she had “concerns” about the trade deal because it would increase Indian migration to the UK and Indians represented the largest group of visa overstayers.
Sources told TOI she is the one who has been pushing back against more visas for legal Indian migrants in the UK-FTA. This is the second time Braverman has been sacked as home secretary; the first was for breaching the ministerial code over an email she had sent when Liz Truss was PM.
Victoria Atkins is the new health secretary, while Richard Holden is new Conservative Party chairman and Steve Barclay, who was health secretary, has replaced Therese Coffey as environment secretary.


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