Braverman out, ex-PM David Cameron back in, as Rishi Sunak shuffles his cabinet

FILE: Former British Prime Minister David Cameron, appointed a new Secretary of State.
FILE: Former British Prime Minister David Cameron, appointed a new Secretary of State. Copyright AP
By Euronews
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Opposition parties had accused Braverman of emboldening far-right groups with her comments about pro-Palestinian protests.


British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made some sweeping changes to his cabinet in an autumn reshuffle prompted by a scandal-hit home secretary. 

Suella Braverman has been sacked after being accused of inflaming tensions with her comments about a pro-Palestinian rally in London on the weekend which attracted 300,000 people. Braverman called it a "hate march" and said the people taking part were "thugs."  

Braverman has been replaced by James Cleverley, who moves from the foreign ministry to the interior ministry. 

Arriving at the Home Office, Cleverly said he was committed to stopping migrant boats from coming to the UK and ensuring people felt safe.

"I have had a very good conversation with the prime minister who's made it very clear that he wants us to deliver on our promises to stop the boats to protect the British people, make sure everybody feels secure in their lives," Cleverly said. 

Newly appointed British Home Secretary James Cleverly leaves 10 Downing Street.
Newly appointed British Home Secretary James Cleverly leaves 10 Downing Street.James Manning/PA

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister David Cameron made a surprise return to frontline politics with an appointment as foreign minister. 

The government says Cameron, who led the Conservative Party for 11 years and was prime minister between 2010 and 2016, will be appointed to Parliament's unelected upper chamber, the House of Lords.

It's a highly unusual move for a former UK leader to take a role in another government and Cameron's appointment came as a surprise to seasoned politics-watchers. It's rare for a non-lawmaker to take a senior government post, and it has been decades since a former prime minister held a Cabinet job.

Cameron said Britain was “facing a daunting set of international challenges, including the war in Ukraine and the crisis in the Middle East.”

“While I have been out of front-line politics for the last seven years, I hope that my experience - as Conservative leader for 11 years and prime minister for six - will assist me in helping the prime minister to meet these vital challenges," he said in a statement.

His appointment brings back to government a leader brought down by Britain's decision to leave the European Union. Cameron called the 2016 EU membership referendum, confident the country would vote to stay in the bloc. He resigned the day after voters opted to leave.

Sunak was a strong backer of the winning “leave” side in the referendum. Cameron's return, and Braverman’s sacking, are likely to infuriate the Conservative Party’s right wing and inflame tensions in the party that Sunak has sought to soothe.

Prominent right-wing lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg said sacking Braverman was “a mistake because Suella understood what the British voter thought and was trying to do something about it.”

Sunak had been under growing pressure to fire Braverman - a hard-liner popular with the authoritarian wing of the governing Conservative Party - from one of the most senior jobs in government, responsible for handling immigration and policing.

In a highly unusual attack on the police last week, Braverman said London’s police force was ignoring lawbreaking by “pro-Palestinian mobs.” She described demonstrators calling for a cease-fire in Gaza as “hate marchers.”

On Saturday, far-right protesters scuffled with police and tried to confront a large pro-Palestinian march by hundreds of thousands through the streets of London. Critics accused Braverman of helping to inflame tensions.

Last week Braverman wrote an article for the Times of London in which she said police “play favorites when it comes to protesters” and acted more leniently toward pro-Palestinian demonstrators and Black Lives Matter supporters than toward right-wing protesters or soccer hooligans.

The article was not approved in advance by the prime minister’s office, as would usually be the case.


Braverman said Monday that “it has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve as home secretary,” adding that she would “have more to say in due course.”

Braverman, a 43-year-old lawyer, has become a leader of the party’s populist wing by advocating ever-tougher curbs on migration and a war on human rights protections, liberal social values and what she has called the “tofu-eating wokerati.”

Last month she called migration a “hurricane” that would bring “millions more immigrants to these shores, uncontrolled and unmanageable.”

As home secretary Braverman championed the government’s stalled plan to send asylum-seekers who arrive in Britain in boats on a one-way trip to Rwanda. A UK Supreme Court ruling on whether the policy is legal is due on Wednesday.

Critics say Braverman has been building her profile to position herself for a party leadership contest that could come if the Conservatives lose power in an election expected next year.

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