I’ve decided to join this team because I believe Rishi Sunak is a good prime minister doing a difficult job at a hard time
David Cameron has said he wants to support Prime Minister Rishi Sunak “at a hard time”, after making a dramatic comeback to government in a major cabinet reshuffle.
The former prime minister has been appointed foreign secretary and accepted a peerage to take the post.
He replaced James Cleverly, who became home secretary after Mr Sunak sacked Suella Braverman.
Lord Cameron admitted it was “not usual” for a former PM “to come back”.
But he said at a time when the country faced “daunting challenges” in the Middle East and Ukraine, he hoped his experience would be helpful to Mr Sunak’s government.
“I’ve decided to join this team because I believe Rishi Sunak is a good prime minister doing a difficult job at a hard time,” Lord Cameron said. “I want to support him.”
Later the Foreign Office said Mr Cameron had spoken to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday evening, and they discussed “the conflict in the Middle East, Israel’s right to self defence and the need for humanitarian pauses to allow the safe passage of aid into Gaza” – as well as their continued support for Ukraine and the strength and depth of the relationship between the UK and the US.
Mrs Braverman’s sacking kickstarted Monday’s cabinet reshuffle by Mr Sunak, whose party is lagging far behind Labour in opinion polls, after more than 13 years in power.
Mr Sunak’s decision to sack Mrs Braverman came after the former home secretary accused the Metropolitan Police of bias in its handling of protests.
The prime minister’s spokesperson stressed the importance of having a “united team” and acknowledged there had been “differences of style” between Mrs Braverman and Mr Sunak.
In a speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London, Mr Sunak said the world faced “deeply challenging times” and “it falls to us to do everything we can to shape these events”.
He said the UK government had “delivered one of the most significant years for British foreign policy in recent times” and praised Mr Cleverly for his work on Ukraine as foreign secretary.
“I’m pleased to have appointed a new foreign secretary who will build on everything we have achieved in the last year,” Mr Sunak said.
By bringing back Lord Cameron and firing Mrs Braverman, who is popular on the right of the Conservative Party, the prime minister has risked deepening divisions among his MPs.
Conservative former Cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg said the Conservatives were “in danger of losing votes to the Reform party”.
Reform leader Richard Tice was “as happy as can be” when he saw him earlier, he told BBC Newsnight, adding: “The Champagne will be flowing in the Reform party headquarters tonight after what’s been done today.”
In key changes, Steve Barclay took Therese Coffey’s job as environment secretary, and Victoria Atkins became health secretary.
Former transport minister Richard Holden became Tory party chairman, taking over from Greg Hands.
Other senior cabinet members remained in post, including Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan.
It was Lord Cameron’s appointment that stunned Westminster and made him the first former prime minister to re-enter government since the 1970s.