In the vociferous arena of the House of Commons, Rishi Sunak, the British prime minister, seemed at a loss for words. A Labor MP asked him what he considered to be the best foreign policy achievement of his new foreign secretary, David Cameron? “There are many, many to choose from”Sunak hesitated. Was the Eurosceptic Prime Minister really going to say “Brexit”?
Cameronthe former prime minister who accidentally took Britain out of the European Union, comes back to the political front line.
But some conservatives wonder why. At the largely forgotten 2013 G8 summit in Northern Ireland, a boastful Sunak addressed in response that was more likely to Cameron be remembered for calling, and losing, a referendum on remaining a member of the European Union.
Cameron had warned it would be an “act of self-inflicted economic harm”, but most voters ignored him; he June 24, 2016with the pound collapsing around him, emerged into Downing Street to announce he was stepping down.
After seven years in the wilderness, marked by his involvement in the biggest Westminster lobbying scandal in recent times, David Cameron he was a man whose career had come to an end.
But last week, a familiar figure – with just a few more lines on that soft face – strode into No 10 to accept English minister Sunak’s offer of a place in his renovated cabinet.
“It’s incredible, especially after Greensill,” lamented a former right-wing cabinet ministerreferring to Cameron’s highly paid role lobbying on behalf of failed financier Lex Greensill.
In fact, Cameron carries more baggage than a Heathrow carousel. As prime minister between 2010 and 2016, he was the architect of the austerity after the crisisa “golden era” of supposedly kowtowing to China, an unfortunate military intervention in Libya and Brexit.
And yet, when Cameron, 57, entered Downing Street it was as if he had not been absent: he is no longer an MP, will re-enter parliament through the House of Lords. An imposing physical presence, the future Lord Cameron looked huge next to the slim Rishi Sunak at his appointment photocall and then dominated a meeting the next day.
“It was the best meeting I have ever attended,” said one minister. “He knew exactly how to lead the debate.” Another cabinet member said: “There was a real stir. “I was completely committed, even though I had only been on the job for two minutes.” Conservative MPs They refer to Cameron as an unusual “adult” in Minister Sunak’s team.
Sunak, whose Conservatives are about 20 points behind the Labor opposition in the polls, seems head to the defeat in the elections scheduled for next year.
Appoint a heavyweight to Supervise foreign policy—leaving the prime minister free to focus on internal affairs— was generally considered a last throw of the dice.
It also signaled a move away from Sunak’s recent flirtation with right-wing causes. towards a more moderate center-right conservatism. Although some point out the harsh austerity policies of Cameron during his mandate as evidence of right-wing tendencies, It also has a history of promoting same-sex marriage and, at least initially, ecological causes.
“He is very, very happy to be back,” said a close friend. “I think he came to the conclusion that Public service is his thing. And we are not going to allow the right to win and take over everything we have worked for. We are a sensible party from the center”.
When David Cameron left office in 2016, He seemed devastated. “I remember going to see him and he seemed to spend most of his time on the couch watching tennis,” says another friend.
It ridiculed for buying a shepherd’s hut, in which he wrote his memoirs. Also He spent his time making speeches.trying unsuccessfully to create a UK-China investment fund, working for Greensill and campaigning for Alzheimer’s research.
“I wasn’t going anywhere.”said Francis Elliott, his biographer, noting that Cameron’s deputy in the coalition government, former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, now has a senior role as Meta’s head of global affairs. Nothing similar happened to Cameron. “Clegg got a decent job and he didn’t. “The phone didn’t ring.”
And yet, many who worked with Cameron speak highly of him as an administrator capable and motivating. David Laws, coalition minister, said: “He was always on top of his mandate. He was good at important strategy issues.”
Cameron, who modernized and “detoxified” to his party and returned it to the political center, has the contacts and political depth necessary to dominate foreign policy during several international crises. On Thursday he made his first trip abroad, to kyiv.
“I think I’ve come to the conclusion
that public service is his thing.”
Lord Kim Darroch, Cameron’s former national security adviser, said: “It is a political geek abroad. “We’ve been to Afghanistan at least a dozen times and each time I wanted to go somewhere different, see something new.”
Cameron’s return enraged to some members of the Tory right (of the Conservative Party) – the party’s former leader, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, declared himself “astonished” – and the new Foreign Secretary made at least a symbolic effort to reassure them: “We must stop the boats and fight illegal immigration,” he tweeted.
Last month, Sunak told the Tory conference that would offer voters “change”, attacking the failures of the previous “30 years of status quo.” Cameron, prime minister for six of those years, was “really irritated,” a friend said.
Elliott says Sunak’s decision to ask his predecessor for help could be mutually beneficial, and was a no-brainer for Cameron. “If anyone needed a second act, it was him.”