Tag Archives: ministerial appointments

Cameron’s return: the ministerial appointments process needs reform

This Monday the country awoke to the news that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had finally sacked Home Secretary Suella Braverman. This was followed by the arrival of none other than former Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street, sparking rumours of a return to government.

Cameron’s place in Sunak’s faltering administration was soon confirmed, making him the first former Prime Minister to return to government since Alec Douglas-Home served as foreign secretary (1970 to 1974).

The top line here is that the current crop of Conservative MPs have been ignored in favour of someone outside of parliament, resorting to a former prime minister. Cameron’s appointment shows the dearth of talent within the Conservative parliamentary ranks and further exposes a government running out of steam. With Sunak on track to leave Downing Street next year, this is a left-field gamble by a struggling PM. It also has the bonus for the government of deflecting attention from Suella Braverman’s appalling record, which would have been this week’s focus otherwise.

However, Cameron’s appointment also raises an interesting question about the mechanics of our democracy. Currently, ministers can only be appointed from the House of Commons and House of Lords. In the case of David Cameron, he has been appointed to the House of Lords purely in order to serve in cabinet.

We need to reform Parliament – Proportional Representation for the Commons and a democratic upper chamber – but there’s also a strong case for reforming the process for appointing ministers who do not serve in the House of Commons. The only way to do this now is to give someone a life peerage or stand down an MP and force a by-election. That’s an absurd way to run a country. Let this sink in: David Cameron has been made a legislator for the rest of his life as a result of this appointment by Sunak.

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