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  • Writer's pictureLotty Feuilherade

Cabinet reshuffle: Bye to Braverman and Lord Cameron's comeback

Sky News

On the 13th of November, PM Rishi Sunak’s cabinet reshuffle appointed 5 new ministers and changed the roles of another 3. These new ministers will aid the cabinet as it strives to support the PM in ensuring the successful functioning of government and delivering on his promises whilst directing many important areas of policy.

Rishi's reshuffle has reset a government whose prospects for the next general election are looking poor according to a recent YouGov voting intention poll, which attributes just 23% of the vote to the Conservatives, which is less than half that of Labour. Sunak has personalised his team more, ridding cabinet of some of Truss' appointments who remained.

These moves have transformed the cabinet, most notably with the return of a familiar face and farewell to former home secretary Suella Braverman. David Cameron, yes that one, is among the new appointments, making an unforeseen comeback to the front line of British politics as foreign secretary. Meanwhile, Braverman lost her role as home secretary, potentially owing to the recent publication of her inflammatory article accusing the Metropolitan police of showing bias against right-wing protesters, which had not been approved by No.10 and sparked many calls for her sacking by other parties. Her defiance of Sunak likely forced him remove her from cabinet to avoid any further undermining of his authority.

(Peter Byrne/PA)

New members of the cabinet:

David Cameron - Foreign Secretary

David Cameron, former British Prime Minister who served between 2010 and 2016, has returned to the forefront of the British political arena following an unexpected decision by Sunak. Regardless of his contentious legacy in foreign policy, Cameron replaces James Cleverly as foreign secretary, In a statement made on Twitter, the previous PM acknowledged the 'daunting set of international challenges, including the war in Ukraine and the crisis in the Middle East' and said his years of experience in front-line politics will guide him in his new role.

However, his appointment is a bit controversial since most cabinet members are MPs, but Cameron has not been an elected politician since the fallout of the Brexit referendum and his resignation from parliament in 2016. In order for him to take on his new role in cabinet, he was made a peer and given a lifelong seat in the House of Lords, since cabinet ministers are expected to be a part of one of either chamber. Therefore, Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton is holding a huge position of responsibility despite having not been elected by British voters. Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle voiced concerns about how the new Lord will be held accountable, as members of the House of Lords cannot appear before the House of Commons, but Cameron confirmed that he will appear before MPs on Commons select committees, which should ensure a level of scrutiny.

Victoria Atkins - Health Secretary

Atkins has been promoted from financial secretary to the Treasury to health secretary and is a close ally of Sunak, returning to government when he became PM. She will oversee social care policy and manage the NHS and its finances.

Esther McVey - Minister without Portfolio

After having been a backbencher for a while, McVey has been appointed as Minister without Portfolio, meaning that she lacks specific duties and does not lead any particular department, but instead will contribute to governmental affairs more generally by aiding with policy and decision-making processes.

Richard Holden - Party Chairman

As new party chairman, Holden takes on a crucial role in light of the upcoming election which is expected to be a tough battle for the Tories. Strictly speaking, he is another minister without portfolio since he does not manage any departments, but he will be highly influential in the run up to the next general election.

Laura Trott - Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Trott has joined the cabinet as chief secretary to the Treasury, making her responsible for public spending.

(Simon Walker/Number 10 Downing Street)

Those whose roles changed:

James Cleverly - Home Secretary

Cleverly takes over from Braverman as home secretary, after having served as foreign secretary since his appointment in 2022 by Liz Truss. He has held numerous other ministerial roles and served on all front benches of the previous 3 prime ministers, so has a sufficient track record to retain a position in cabinet.

Steve Barclay - Environment Secretary

Barclay has been shifted from health secretary to environment secretary, a move which is regarded as a demotion and marks his sixth high-ranking role since 2017, having been Brexit secretary, health secretary (twice), chief secretary to the treasury and so on.

John Glen - Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office

Finally, John Glen has been appointed paymaster general after Trott took over as chief secretary to the treasury. Again, he will act as a minister without portfolio who organises payments on behalf of departments.

This shakeup of Sunak’s team reflects a general shift away from the right, of which Cameron’s resurgence is a symbol. Although Braverman’s dismissal has upset some more right-wing Conservatives, such as Dame Andrea Jenkyns who has since published a letter of no confidence in the PM, and there has been a mixed reaction to Cameron’s return, the PM hopes that his new cabinet will be more united and cohesive in time for the looming election, but it is doubtful that it will generate a significant change in the political dial. Nonetheless, it has made for a chaotic week of news.


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