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Rishi Sunak has taken a risk by potentially reigniting conflict within the Conservative party by removing his right-wing home secretary, Suella Braverman, and appointing former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron as foreign secretary.
The party moderates were pleased with the prime minister’s major rearrangement, celebrating Ms Braverman’s departure and the unexpected comeback of Mr Cameron – also known as the “compassionate Conservative” – to a prominent role in the government.
However, Mr Sunak received a warning to “brace for battle”, as conservative individuals eager for rebellion asserted that a minimum of 54 of Ms Braverman’s disgruntled followers may submit letters of no-confidence in the near future, potentially triggering a vote on his leadership.
Andrea Jenkyns, a strong supporter of Boris Johnson, disclosed that she had submitted a letter of no-confidence to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee. Jenkyns stated that she had reached her limit and believes it is time for Rishi Sunak to step down.
The prime minister removed Liz Truss supporter Therese Coffey from her position as environment secretary and seemed to upset potential right-wing candidate Kemi Badenoch by removing her ally Rachel Maclean as housing minister. However, he also elevated moderate allies to higher positions.
The recent split emerged as:
Steve Barclay has been moved from his position as health secretary to the role of environment secretary.
James Cleverly has been appointed as the new home secretary, leaving his previous position at the Foreign Office.
Esther McVey, a host on GB News, has been reappointed to the cabinet as a minister with a focus on opposing woke ideology.
George Osborne stated that Cameron, who received a life peerage, responded to the call of duty.
Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, believes that former Prime Minister David Cameron should still be answerable to Members of Parliament, even though he is not required to face regular questioning due to his membership in the House of Lords.
Ms Braverman was fired after facing widespread backlash for her claim that the Metropolitan Police showed bias and favored pro-Palestine protesters, leading to accusations that she encouraged far-right violence at the Cenotaph over the weekend.
This morning, Mr. Sunak dismissed his home secretary via phone. The prime minister’s press secretary stated that there were concerns regarding language and emphasized that Mr. Sunak values the principle of collective responsibility. This was in response to questions about Ms. Braverman’s statements regarding police bias.
Ms Jenkyns stated that the dismissal of Ms Braverman has sparked renewed divisions among the Tory party. She believes that Ms Braverman’s firing was unjust because she spoke honestly. Jacob Rees-Mogg, another member on the right side of the party, called her removal a mistake.
Neil Parish, a disgraced former Conservative Member of Parliament, resigned from his position after confessing to watching pornography in the House of Commons. He stated that Rishi Sunak should be ready for a battle and praised Suella Braverman as the new leader of the conservative party’s right wing.
According to David Campbell Bannerman, the leader of the Conservative Democratic Organisation, there are now enough votes to initiate a no-confidence vote against Mr. Sunak.
54 letters, representing 15% of the party, must be submitted to the Tories’ backbench 1922 committee to initiate a vote on Mr Sunak’s leadership.
A member of the Conservative party, who is influential within the 1922 committee, stated to The Independent that the notion of 54 non-government MPs submitting letters is unfounded. They also asserted that Ms Braverman does not have sufficient support.
Stephen Hammond, a prominent moderate member of the Conservative Party, also rejected the idea of a confidence vote, stating that the party’s more conservative faction would likely create a uproar, but ultimately their numbers would not change the situation.
John Stevenson, a Member of Parliament and leader of the Northern Research Group for the Tory party, expressed support for Rishi Sunak’s decision to dismiss Priti Patel. He stated that her behavior was not appropriate for someone in the position of Home Secretary.
Even Conservative party member Philip Davies, who aligns with Braverman and is a leading member of the Common Sense Group led by her mentor John Hayes, downplayed the notion of a potential challenge against Mr. Sunak.
“I share many views with Suella, so it’s disheartening to say that I don’t believe Mr Sunak had many options but to leave him,” Mr Davies stated to The Independent.
On Monday evening, Lee Anderson, the Tory deputy chairman, attended a gathering of the New Conservatives, a right-wing group. Also present were Danny Kruger, Simon Clarke, and John Hayes, who is Ms Braverman’s mentor.
One individual stated that the group was not happy about Ms Braverman’s dismissal, but it is estimated that only 10 to 12 Members of Parliament were present.
Moderates were delighted by the stunning appointment of Mr Cameron – who occupied No 10 for six years before his disastrous gamble on a Brexit referendum backfired in 2016 – as foreign secretary.
Lord Cameron was granted a title in the peerage, specifically the “Barony of the United Kingdom for life,” which enables him to once again become a member of the government from the House of Lords. He will receive a ministerial salary, but will waive the yearly £115,000 stipend typically given to former Prime Ministers while he is employed in government.
Mr. Cameron expressed his excitement and pride in joining Mr. Sunak’s government, acknowledging that it is uncommon for a former prime minister to rejoin the government in this manner.
When questioned about his conflicting views with Mr. Sunak on the elimination of the northern portion of HS2 and other matters, Lord Cameron stated, “While I may have disagreed with certain decisions, politics is a collaborative effort. I have chosen to align myself with this team.”
George Osborne, who was once an ally of Boris Johnson, rejected Nadine Dorries’ suggestion that the recent move could pave the way for his return to government. On his podcast, he stated, “I have not received any such invitation.”
According to Mr. Osborne, Mr. Cameron’s actions were a reaction to a call for action. He also expressed satisfaction with Mr. Sunak’s decision to bring back a connection to a moderate government by selecting David Cameron as the chief Cameroon.
The ex-Prime Minister agreed with the decision to remove Ms Braverman, but cautioned that this action has resulted in a strong adversary within the Conservative backbenchers. He also stated that she may take action against Rishi Sunak.
Ex-Tory Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine expressed his approval of Mr Cameron’s comeback and stated that Ms Braverman’s departure was necessary. Heseltine, a respected politician, shared with The Independent that the former PM’s presence would help restore some rationality to the cabinet, although it would not significantly alter the political atmosphere.
Former foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind praised Mr. Cameron’s comeback as “inspired”, although he cautioned that it may not necessarily improve the Conservatives’ chances of closing the gap on Labour’s significant lead in the polls.
According to Mr. Rifkind, the government has become more powerful and united. However, despite having a skilled foreign secretary and home secretary, their presence did not impact the outcome of the 1997 election.
The Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, is requesting that the government clarify how Cameron will be held responsible for their actions.
Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the Commons, expressed his annoyance with the appointment of Mr. Cameron. He stated that he is eager to hear from the government about how they will ensure that the peer is held accountable to the House. This is due to the fact that he is not a current Member of Parliament and will not be present for debates or sessions in the Commons.
The Labour party criticized the reshuffle as a “Conservative clown show” and accused Mr Sunak of running out of competent candidates.
The Liberal Democrats criticized Mr. Cameron’s appointment, stating that it seemed desperate. They called for the peerage to be denied due to his involvement in the Greensill lobbying scandal. It was revealed that he privately lobbied ministers in an attempt to secure access to an emergency loan scheme for the failed company, where he began working in 2018. However, Mr. Cameron maintains that the controversy is now in the past.
In other news, Victoria Atkins, a loyal supporter of Sunak, was appointed as the new health secretary. Steve Barclay was reassigned to the position of environment secretary following Therese Coffey’s departure from the government. Laura Trott was given a promotion to chief Treasury secretary, while John Glen was replaced and will now serve as paymaster general.
Greg Hands was replaced as Tory chairman and demoted to a junior business minister, while Richard Holden, a strong-willed “red wall” MP, took on the role in hopes of maintaining satisfaction among conservative MPs in the northern regions.
In a different effort to appease those dissatisfied with Ms. Braverman’s departure, Esther McVey, a right-wing host on GB News, was appointed to a cabinet position. She will serve as a minister without a designated portfolio, but it is believed that she will be responsible for promoting “common sense” as Sunak’s minister, with the goal of addressing “woke” politics within the government.
Kemi Badenoch, the business secretary, seemed upset by Mr. Sunak’s choice to dismiss Rachel Maclean as the housing minister. She expressed her regret at losing her ally. Ms. Maclean stated that she was disappointed to have been replaced.
In a concise statement addressing her dismissal, Ms Braverman expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve as home secretary. However, she also hinted at further remarks in the future, potentially concerning Mr Sunak.