UPDATED: Tory reshuffle: goodbye, Suella Braverman, hello, David Cameron?

It’s all kicked off at Number 10, so we’ll be updating this as events unfold…

In one of the more unexpected moments of this increasingly flaky Government, Rishi Sunak has moved James Cleverly from the Foreign Office to the Home Office after just fourteen months, and replaced him with David Cameron, giving him a peerage in order to do so. It would be fair to say that the responses have been mixed…

Beth Rigby, Sky News’ Political Editor, notes:

Layla Moran has pointed out that:

Bringing back a scandal-hit, unelected former Prime Minister who has been criticising Sunak’s government at every turn has the stench of desperation. There is not even the bottom of the barrel left for Sunak to scrape in the Conservative Party.

David Cameron was at the heart of the biggest lobbying scandal of recent times. Handing him a peerage makes a mockery of our honours system. Cameron’s peerage should be blocked given his shady past.

whilst Alistair Carmichael has noted the challenges that having a Cabinet Minister not answerable to the Commons will bring. It will enable our rather more numerous Parliamentary Party in the Lords to hold him to account though…

12.00 update

There have also been some resignations. Nick Gibb, the highly regarded Minister for Schools has announced his departure, both as a minister but also from his Parliamentary seat (Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, majority 22,503) at the General Election. The Institute for Government noted in a recent report that school standards is about the only area of public services that has improved since 2010, and given that he’d been in post for most of that time, it does suggest the value of continuity.

Neil O’Brien (Harborough, majority 17,278) has gone from Health to focus on his constituency work, whilst Will Quince, who had already announced that he wouldn’t be defending Colchester (majority 9,423) at the General Election will leave DHSC to focus on his army training.

Finally (so far), Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire, majority 19,686) has resigned as Transport Minister.

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29 Comments

  • I guess the PM thought that creating a vacancy so that Cameron could enter the House of Commons would risk an embarrassing and possibly catastrophic defeat.

  • Ian Patterson 13th Nov '23 - 11:15am

    The last time MPs resigned to ease Ministers into seats was in 1964 under Wilson. Hasn’t been tried since.

  • nigel hunter 13th Nov '23 - 11:31am

    Are the Conservatives going to do a u turn on the EU? Admitting they made a mistake (without saying so).If so they will gain a march on the LibDems who are not pushing re entry.

  • nigel hunter 13th Nov '23 - 11:37am

    Not answerable to the commons.A continuation of the Govnt making all the laws etc AND BY PASSING DEBATE IN THE COMMONS.The continuation of an authoritarian decision making govnt.

  • Doesn’t say much for the talent bank on the Conservative benches.

  • Laurence Cox 13th Nov '23 - 12:00pm

    Cameron was entitled to take a peerage as an ex-Prime Minister, so he’s just getting it a bit later than he might have done. Lord Carrington was the last Peer who was Foreign Secretary.

    It’s not usually a good good idea for politicians to go around criticising other parties’ “bad apples” because they can equally do the same for ours such as Chris Huhne, forced to resign as a Minister in 2012 when charged with perverting the course of justice for which he was later sentenced to eight months imprisonment. Starmer was DPP at the time.

  • Christopher Haigh 13th Nov '23 - 12:55pm

    @ Nigel Hunter – lets hope so. It’s just great to have sensible mainstream conservatives back in government.

  • Nonconformistradical 13th Nov '23 - 1:31pm

    @Ian Patterson
    “The last time MPs resigned to ease Ministers into seats was in 1964 under Wilson”
    Is that Patrick Gordon Walker? Lost his seat in the very controversial Smethwick contest to Peter Griffiths (there was a very controversial leaflet doing the rounds and I won’t repeat the slogan on it here).

    Gordon-Walker then stood in an engineered by-election in Leyton – and lost.

  • Ian Patterson 13th Nov '23 - 1:39pm

    @Nonconformistradical – yes.

  • Will Braverman defect and lead Reform, that would be interesting, very interesting. Could see that party hitting 12-15% in the short term..

  • Alex Macfie 13th Nov '23 - 1:52pm

    @Laurence Cox: But Chris Huhne isn’t about to get back into politics.

  • Nigel Hunter’s suggestion about a massive Tory U-turn on the EU may not be totally fanciful! All Tory beliefs are subservient to their core belief that they have a right to rule. Whatever it takes….

  • Mary Fulton 13th Nov '23 - 2:49pm

    Let’s hope the return of David Cameron to government is not a sign the Conservatives may hope to attract the Liberal Democrats to join them in a future Coalition if the next election results in no party winning a majority of MPs. Sir Ed should make a statement that there is no chance of such an outcome under any circumstances. I, for one, could not continue to back the party if the disaster of 2010 were repeated.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Nov '23 - 4:33pm

    The man who failed to persuade in favour of the EU, even as he was in favour of the EU, becomes Foreign Secretary of a Brexit government. In order to do so, the man who presided over austerity and universal credit, becomes a Peer and takes on a salary most could dream of.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Nov '23 - 4:35pm

    People ought to march against the fiasco that is the lack of democracy and justice.

  • Alex Macfie 13th Nov '23 - 5:26pm

    Sunak may be hoping to attract Blue Wall soft Tory voters back into the fold by his appointment of the Coalition-era PM. It’s unlikely to work, since Cameron has hardly covered himself in glory since 2015. I think the Tories know full well that the Lib Dems are not going to go anywhere near them after the next GE, even if the Parliamentary arithmetic allowed some sort of arrangement. Labour activists (of the Lib Dem hating type) may try to make mischief over it, but it’s likely that returns on that gambit have diminished to nothing already. Anyone who still makes a fuss over Lib Dem participation in the Coalition now, 8 years after it ended, is likely a partisan Lib Dem hater.

  • The Conservatives have slowly been returning to the mainstream. Now we know the direction of travel before the next election we must extra strive for tactical Labour votes with cost of living issues.

  • Martin Gray 13th Nov '23 - 5:50pm

    Well said Lorenzo…
    Some people on here with some short memories..
    Austerity was a political choice & he was at the forefront of it… Impoverishing the already poor is not mainstream..
    And being an already wealthy man – married into an even wealthier family – he goes & picks up £750k per annum for 25 days a year consulting for Greensill…
    When the stuff hit the fan – he was scurrying around texting ministers in the hope of some taxpayer’s money to shore up that company – he was only ever interested in saving face – not people’s savings …
    The new foreign secretary….Lord Cameron …What a farce…

  • Leekliberal 13th Nov '23 - 5:54pm

    theakes: You comment that a Braverman lead Reform Party could see them hitting 12-15% in the polls. It’s all too credible and would see them ahead of our Party, locked as we are at around 10% by the inability of our leadership to find their campaigning mojo. There has been plenty of advice for them on Lib Dem Voice as to how they should choose a handful of well-thought through key policies, to include Brexit and poverty, and hammer away at them remorselessy, to once again achieve an identity for our party like we had under Charles Kennedy and Paddy Ashdown. Electors need, a positive reason to vote for us apart from the fact that our candidates are local and great campaigners. To date, I see no sign that this is going to happen!

  • Lorenzo Cherin and some others. Yes, Cameron was at the centre of austerity but he was enabled by us for 5 years

  • Peter Davies 13th Nov '23 - 7:49pm

    I don’t think you can read anything into the reshuffle about future policy direction. He appears to be getting rid of incompetents forced on him by party factions and replacing them with team players. Perhaps David Cameron’s biggest asset is that he doesn’t want Sunak’s job.

  • I’m inclined to think that the mood of the country is such that the appointment of David Cameron will simply serve to remind the electorate of how long the Tories have been in power and reinforce the sense that it is time for a change.

  • Alex Macfie 13th Nov '23 - 9:01pm

    I’m not much bothered about a resurgent RefUK at the next GE because it would take votes mainly from the right flanks of Tory and Blue Labourite voters, thus helping us in our Tory-facing target seats. 12-15% of the vote is unlikely to translate into as many seats for them as it would for us.
    And @Peter Davies is right, this reshuffle is little more than window-dressing.

  • Alex Macfie 13th Nov '23 - 9:07pm

    @Tim Rogers: Getting tactical Labour votes is a matter of campaigning and barcharts. Getting Labour voters to switch to us over policy is for Labour-facing target seats, of which there are very few, of which only one (Sheffield Hallam) gives us a realistic chance of winning at the next GE.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Nov '23 - 10:14pm

    Martin well said! yes to every word of that commentary on this ludicrous reshuffle.

    Tim you are correct. The drift to the right under Cameron, only continuing in worse policies than hitherto then ever seen, though opposed by our party often, was a shameful thing which this party and this country ought not to have had experieced or been the case. But we can move on and are thankfully, politically doing so.

    The New Labour years drifted thus, before His New Lordship entered govt, enabled by some now prominent on the Labour front team. I hear bits of contritian, but little really, from Tory types like Cameron, on his slppery doings in the financial sector. Meanwhile some , many suffer. I hear little contritian from Cooper, Reeves on their love for austerity and letting the disabled and poverty stricken stay heads low, and in fear.

    We need a not so meek in fact, revolution, peaceful yet staunch, a diatribe against the appalling waseteland that is govt thinking and practice on the issues of the day, poverty amongst them more than most.

  • @Tim Rogers. Re. Lib Dem’s enabling austerity, structural deficit rose between 2010-15, “austerity “, that is effectively freezing public spending in total to reduce debt as proportion of GDP, started when country decided it would be better if Tories were allowed to govern on their own.
    Personally, I thought the coalition government was one of the better governments of recent decades and there’s an element of unhealthy self loathing in some people’s unwillingness to recognise its achievements.

  • Nigel Jones 14th Nov '23 - 2:38pm

    I must challenge your article’s report that school standards have risen; this is measured by exam scores and a number of major reports in 2022 (including the Times Education Commission) showed how inadequate our education system is in so many ways, plus numerous reports showing the increasing gap between high achievers and low achievers. This may well be due to Nick Gibbs’ illiberal policies, together with that of Michael Gove. At least Rishi and Keir have acknowledged the need for change and we too need to be heard calling for that change, which is about its nature and its purpose and not so much about money.

  • George Thomas 14th Nov '23 - 7:50pm

    I saw an article on LBC which included a quote along the lines of “although there remain critics of austerity politics, David Cameron did represent a period of stability in government not seen since.”

    I’m worried we’re about to enter a period of political commentary which is the equivalent of shopping hungry: that anything is better than what we’re currently experiencing even if it means making bad choices.

    Ignoring Cameron’s role in what happened after he left is making a bad choice. We all now want that chaos with Ed Milliband.

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