The shocking scenes of Cameron’s re-emergence at Downing Street stole almost all the post-Remembrance Weekend headlines. Whilst this is understandable, critics claim that his appointment has been used to divert attention away from the events of the weekend which saw Sunak lose control of his party yet again after Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s disastrous response to civil unrest in London.
Braverman, booted out of her role in favour of James Cleverly, has also had a headline-stealing week. After labelling Pro-Palestinian protests ‘hate marches’, she then called homelessness a ‘lifestyle choice’ before openly criticising the Prime Minister and Metropolitan Police for being ‘too lenient’ on protestors during Remembrance Weekend. With Sunak’s firing of Braverman, the now twice-sacked Home Secretary joins the long list of right-wing Tories who have bitten clean off the hand that is fed-up of feeding them.
The dismissal of Braverman illuminates the growing discontent within a faction that emerged during the more populist Johnson administration. This faction, often referred to as 'National Conservatives', claims to defend the values of the 'Red Wall' constituents who propelled them to power in the 2019 elections. Sunak, tasked with holding together a party torn between this extreme contingent and more traditional establishment Tories, finds himself walking a precarious political tightrope that he hopes David Cameron can help guide him off of.
Whilst many pundits believe Cameron’s appointment to be a desperate grasp at stability during these tumultuous times, others have posited how Cameron’s return signals a potential shift towards a more centrist brand of Toryism, resembling that of the pre-Brexit era. Sunak’s turn to Cameron could be a move that re-establishes his credibility amongst traditional Tories and the nation as a whole.
On the international front, the former PM’s practical experience in global politics is second to none. Given his history as the leader of the United Kingdom for six years, Cameron’s connections with world leaders are extensive. Having a Foreign Secretary who has had high-profile interactions with international figures like Joe Biden, Vladimir Putin, Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, is certainly a boon for this government’s global reputation.
Critics argue that Cameron’s re-emergence in the political spotlight only raises more questions regarding the Conservatives’ newfound commitment to transparency. The 53rd Prime Minister famously resigned under ignominious circumstances after his Brexit referendum spectacularly blew up in his face, leaving the nation in a divided state for the last seven years. Since he scuttled out of the limelight, Cameron was implicated in a lobbying scandal during the COVID-19 pandemic, only worsening his already tainted reputation after the Panama Papers Scandal, which revealed that he held offshore bank accounts in a Caribbean tax haven.
On top of his personal record, even the nature to which Cameron has returned is dubious. As he is no longer an MP, to be appointed to the Cabinet Cameron has been made a Lord Peer; meaning he cannot face questioning in the House of Commons and will spend the rest of his life with a seat in the House of Lords. Cameron is the first unelected Foreign Secretary in almost half a century and his appointment only lends credence to the argument that the Tories favour a certain class of politician.
The return of the man who initiated this 13-year Conservative rule and ushered in the divided political era of Brexit seems completely antithetical to the notion of change in which Sunak seemed so eager to represent. However, the one solace to take in the Cameron comeback, is the prophetic manner in which the architect of this political dynasty has returned back from the wilderness to bare witness to its inevitable collapse and ruin.