Welcome back Lord Dave! Rishi Sunak's new Cabinet to meet after Suella Braverman sacked, as Tory right plot fightback no-confidence vote

Tuesday 14 November 2023

Rishi Sunak will assemble his reshuffled Cabinet including Lord David Cameron for their first meeting after the sacking of Suella Braverman in a dramatic reshuffle that triggered anger on the Tory right.

Bringing the former Prime Minister back into the political sphere via a peerage, Rishi Sunak has taken what has been argued as a major gamble to revive his electoral fortunes.

Sitting at the Cabinet table for the first time since he stood down as PM and quit as an MP after losing the Brexit referendum in 2016, Lord Cameron will be back around the table on Tuesday.

He admitted such a return is “not usual” but said he wants to support Mr Sunak through a “difficult job at a hard time”.

Speaking to TalkTV's Mike Graham, historian and broadcaster Rafe Heydel-Mankoo said: "Suella Braverman is far closer to what the average British, to what the average viewer of TalkTV, believes. 75% of Tory voters absolutely supported Suella Braverman.

"Here we have Sunak trying to allegedly sure up the blue wall and sacrifice the red wall in an attempt to appear more centrist. The fact is, he's betraying all those 2019 voters.

"David Cameron is the grim reaper of British Conservatism - he killed it in 2010… it’s as if he’s come back to kill off any hope of a Conservative revival.”

The reshuffle risked inflaming the rift in the Conservative Party created after Mr Sunak sacked Ms Braverman as Home Secretary.

Hours later, former minister Dame Andrea Jenkyns submitted a furious letter of no confidence in Mr Sunak to the Tory backbench 1922 Committee as a result of the decision.

Deputy Tory chairman Lee Anderson was among hardline MPs at a Commons meeting where concerns were shared about Mrs Braverman’s ousting after she accused the police of bias.

Tensions could be ramped up further when the Supreme Court hands down its judgement on the Rwanda asylum policy central to Mr Sunak’s promise to “stop the boats” crossing the Channel.

The Prime Minister has taken what has been argued as a major gamble in his reshuffle

Rishi Sunak will assemble his reshuffled Cabinet on Tuesday

Ms Braverman, who warned she will have “more to say in due course”, could add to pressure by championing leaving the European Court of Human Rights if the Government loses the appeal.

In a foreign policy speech to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London’s Guildhall, Mr Sunak vowed to stand up for tolerance and free speech as “conflicts overseas create division at home”.

James Cleverly was appointed Home Secretary as he was moved from the Foreign Office to make way for Lord Cameron, while promotions included Victoria Atkins to Health Secretary and Laura Trott to Treasury Chief Secretary.

In a conciliatory move to the Tory right, GB News presenter and former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey was brought back into Government as a minister without portfolio.

In another sign Mr Sunak is looking ahead to the election, Richard Holden replaced Greg Hands as Conservative Party chairman following a string of by-election losses and a mauling in council contests during his nine months in charge.

Conservative former Cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg said the reshuffle would not help win the Tories the next election, suggesting it will benefit the Reform party founded by Nigel Farage.

Lord Cameron’s appointment was a massive shock in Westminster not just because of the rare return of a former prime minister to Government but because of his past closeness with China.

He has also been critical of Mr Sunak’s scrapping of the northern leg of HS2 in a conference speech in which the Prime Minister distanced himself from the legacy of his predecessors.

Lord Cameron also faces questions over the Greensill affair, in which he privately lobbied ministers in an attempt to win Greensill Capital access to an emergency coronavirus loan scheme.

In his first interview since returning to frontline politics, Lord Cameron said he believes “that is all dealt with and in the past” as he said he has quit all his roles.

“I now have one job, as Britain’s Foreign Secretary,” he told broadcasters.