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Antony Antoniou – Reform UK Northampton North
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(PPC) 2024 General Election

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Cameron's Return Sparks Backlash from Tory Right

Cameron’s Return Sparks Backlash from Tory Right

Reshuffle Prompts MPs to Turn on Sunak after Braverman Sacked as Home Secretary

Rishi Sunak brought David Cameron back into the Cabinet on Monday in a reshuffle that triggered a new row with the Right of the Conservative Party.

Lord Cameron accepted a peerage to become Foreign Secretary, ending almost seven years in the political wilderness after he quit as prime minister following the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Downing Street figures pointed to his foreign policy experience and diplomatic contacts to explain the surprise appointment, with wars raging in Ukraine and the Middle East. His credentials as a election winner were also a factor, according to government sources, and he is expected to play a prominent role in the Tories’ campaign next year.

The reshuffle – wider than expected – saw Suella Braverman sacked as home secretary, days after she had alleged police bias in an unauthorised article about pro-Palestinian marches.

Victoria Atkins was appointed Health Secretary, James Cleverly was made Home Secretary and Steve Barclay was moved to become Environment Secretary.

Sacking of Braverman Turns Right against Sunak

The sacking of Mrs Braverman led MPs on the Right of the party to turn on the Prime Minister. Dame Andrea Jenkyns, a prominent Boris Johnson supporter, sent a letter of no confidence to the 1922 committee – the formal process for removing a Tory leader.

She accused Mr Sunak of deciding to “purge the centre-Right from his Cabinet” and said Mrs Braverman was the only person in the Cabinet with the courage “to speak the truth of the appalling state of our streets and a two-tier policing system”.

Lord Frost said the reshuffle showed that the Prime Minister was taking the country “back to the past”, while Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, a former business secretary, said Mrs Braverman “seems to have been sacked for following Conservative policy and principles too loudly”.

Renewed pressure for tax cuts also came from the Liz Truss-backed Growth Commission, which claimed Britain faces two decades of low growth under Mr Sunak’s economic approach.

Human Rights Ruling Could Stoke Tensions

Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision on the Government’s Rwanda migrant deportation scheme is also set to increase tensions, with Mrs Braverman expected to champion leaving the European Convention of Human Rights [ECHR] from the back benches.

The former home secretary said she would have “more to say in due course” after she was sacked, with the dismissal delivered by phone call rather than in a face-to-face meeting.

Cameron Becomes First Ex-PM in Cabinet for 50 Years

Lord Cameron became the first former prime minister to return to a Cabinet role in more than 50 years, following in the footsteps of Alec Douglas-Home.

Of his decision to return, he said: “I know it’s not usual for a prime minister to come back in this way, but I believe in public service. The Prime Minister asked me to do this job, and it’s a time where we have some daunting challenges as a country, the conflict in the Middle East, the war in Ukraine.”

Mr Sunak offered him the job in a face-to-face meeting in the No 11 flat last Tuesday evening – before Mrs Braverman’s controversial article was published in The Times.

But the reshuffle was brought forward by the row about her comments, according to Downing Street insiders, with the announcements previously having been planned for later in the year.

Cameron Gives Up Other Jobs to Focus on Role

Lord Cameron said he had given up all other jobs to accept the new role, declaring: “I now have one job as Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom.”

After acknowledging that he had disagreed with the Prime Minister in the past, including over HS2, he said he would be bound by collective responsibility, saying: “Politics is a team enterprise.”

He also dismissed controversy over his previous work lobbying for Greensill Capital, a financial services company, saying that was “in the past”.

Lord Cameron is expected to be paid more than £100,000 as he takes up the ministerial post. He has, however, given up the allowance given to former prime ministers and will not take the daily allowance peers can claim for attending the House of Lords.

Cleverly Moved to Make Way for Cameron

Mr Cleverly was made Home Secretary to create space for Lord Cameron. Mr Barclay was moved to become Environment Secretary, with Therese Coffey, a close ally of Liz Truss, sacked from that role.

Ms Atkins replaced Mr Barclay as Health Secretary, while Richard Holden, first elected in 2019, was elevated to the Cabinet by becoming chairman of the Conservative Party.

Another eye-catching move saw Esther McVey return to the front bench as a Cabinet Office minister with a brief that reportedly includes being tougher on “wokeness”.

Appointment Angers Some on Tory Right

The appointment of Lord Cameron, seen as the architect of the Tory party’s modernisation drive that helped it back to power in 2010, combined with the sacking of Mrs Braverman, angered some on the Tory Right.

Mrs Braverman ran for the Tory leadership last summer from a platform on the Right and is widely tipped by Tory colleagues to make another bid for the leadership when it next becomes vacant.

Writing for The Telegraph, Sir Jacob said: “Many Tories will view this reshuffle and feel that the Prime Minister does not want to deal with their concerns … perhaps after the populism of Boris Johnson there is now almost an anti-populism.”

Frost Warns of Return to Cameron’s Past

Lord Frost, Mr Johnson’s Brexit negotiator who, like Lord Cameron, held a Cabinet role and sat in the House of Lords, was also critical, writing: “This reshuffle shows the Government has decided its direction of travel.

“It’s back to the past: a world in which Brexit may have happened legally but not in the mindset of those who rule us; a world of social liberalism, of unambitious low-growth economics, and of deferral to the views and interests of the permanent class of people who run institutions like the BBC, the Office for Budget Responsibility, and the Metropolitan Police – just as it was under David Cameron once before, and now will be again.”

He said he was worried that “this will also be a return to a conservatism for the privileged – people who are already doing alright, people who don’t want the change so clearly signalled in those huge 2016 and 2019 victories”.

No 10 Dismisses Claims of Marginalising Right

Downing Street dismissed suggestions that the reshuffle amounted to a marginalisation of the party’s Right, arguing that Mr Sunak had focused on delivering for the country when making his appointments.

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