London, November 13 (The Guardian): British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday sacked Home Secretary Suella Baverman, appointed James Cleverly in her place and appointed former Prime Minister David Cameron as the new Foreign Secretary in place of Cleverly.
Cameron will take a seat in the House of Lords to enable him to take up the post, Patrick Wintour reports.
Cameron says as foreign secretary he wants to focus on supporting allies and strengthening partnerships
David Cameron has put a lengthy statement on X about his appointment as foreign secretary. Here is an extract in which he says supporting allies and strengthening partnerships will be a priority.
“We are facing a daunting set of international challenges, including the war in Ukraine and the crisis in the Middle East. At this time of profound global change, it has rarely been more important for this country to stand by our allies, strengthen our partnerships and make sure our voice is heard.”
“Britain is a truly international country. Our people live all over the world and our businesses trade in every corner of the globe. Working to help ensure stability and security on the global stage is both essential and squarely in our national interest. International security is vital for our domestic security.””
In a reference to his comments on the scrapping of the Manchester leg of HS2 Cameron also praises Rishi Sunak as “a strong and capable prime minister, who is showing exemplary leadership”. He says:
Though I may have disagreed with some individual decisions, it is clear to me that Rishi Sunak is a strong and capable Prime Minister, who is showing exemplary leadership at a difficult time.
Braverman’s sacking brings down curtain on turbulent tenure as UK home secretary, writes Peter Walker.
Darling of populist Tory right has stoked political rows on homelessness, immigration and the ‘tofu-eating wokerati’
Of all her achievements thus far in politics, Suella Braverman’s latest feat is perhaps her most notable: being sacked as home secretary twice in little more than a year.
Her first departure, just weeks into the role under Liz Truss, was officially labelled a resignation, but in fact Braverman had no choice but to step down for sending an official document from her personal email to a fellow MP, a serious breach of ministerial rules.
Braverman was back in the Home Office less than a week later under Rishi Sunak after Truss’s administration collapsed. This time, however, she seems out for good – or at least for as long as Sunak stays in No 10.
Sunak’s decision to sack Braverman brings down the curtain on a turbulent and often controversial tenure, one succinctly and accurately summarised by her Labour counterpart, Yvette Cooper, in the Commons on Thursday: “No other home secretary would ever have done this.”
“This” was writing an opinion piece in the Times that accused the police of being inherently biased towards left-leaning protests, including clumsy comparisons with Northern Ireland, which caused genuine anger.
The article was sent to Downing Street for approval, as the ministerial code sets out, but a series of changes demanded by No 10 were seemingly ignored, or at the very least not made.
It is hard to think of a more direct challenge to a prime minister’s authority, especially from a minister who has spent months playing her own tune, seemingly intent on positioning herself as the choice for the right of the Conservative party in a post-Sunak future.
In her time as home secretary, it is arguable Braverman has stoked more political rows than any predecessor, on subjects as varied as the supposed bias of police, which is raging now, to homelessness, sexual abuse, golly dolls and “the tofu-eating wokerati”.
Is Braverman trying to get sacked? Some Tory insiders think so
For all her current position as the hard-talking darling of the populist Tory right, the 43-year-old Braverman, an MP since 2015, is a politician of stark paradoxes.
An avowed Francophile who studied in Paris, she became a staunch Brexiter. The child of immigrant parents, she publicly yearns to deport immigrants. A hate figure for many in parliament, colleagues insist Braverman is nonetheless kind and polite in private.
Born Sue-Ellen Fernandes in Harrow, north-west London, she is the only child of Christie Fernandes, a Kenyan of Christian Goan origin, and Uma Fernandes, a Mauritian of Indian origin, both of whom had arrived in the UK during the 1960s.
Named after Sue Ellen Ewing, the leading female character in the 1980s US television drama Dallas, who was largely defined by her turbulent personal life and struggles with alcohol, Braverman shortened her name after teachers started to call her Suella.
Unlike Truss, Braverman did not begin her political life on the left. Her mother, an NHS nurse, was a Conservative councillor and stood unsuccessfully for parliament.
After attending the fee-paying Heathfield school in Pinner, where she was on a partial scholarship, Braverman studied law at Queens’ College, Cambridge, becoming president of the university Conservative association.
She took advantage of the EU’s Erasmus scheme for overseas study, no longer available to UK students since Brexit, spending two years in France studying at the Sorbonne, gaining a love of French language and culture.
While she threw herself into a career as a barrister, practising in the UK and the US, passing the New York bar exam, Braverman was also set on politics, unsuccessfully fighting the solid Labour seat of Leicester East in 2005.
When she finally made it to the Commons in 2015, via the ultra-safe constituency of Fareham in Hampshire, Braverman immediately allied herself with the Brexit ultras of the European Research Group, not an obvious career move under David Cameron.
The EU referendum came to her aid and by 2018, under Theresa May, she was junior Brexit minister, rising under Boris Johnson to her first cabinet job as attorney general two years later. Having entered parliament as Suella Fernandes, she was now Suella Braverman, after marrying Rael Braverman, a manager at Mercedes-Benz, in 2018.
Controversy was never far away. In 2019, after Braverman had resigned from May’s government in protest at its Brexit plans, she was criticised by Jewish groups for using “cultural Marxism” in a speech, a term linked to a conspiracy theory often associated with the far right and antisemitism.
It was, however, after her ascent to the Home Office under Truss that Braverman’s notoriety increased at pace. She was filmed saying it was her “dream” to watch asylum seekers being deported to Rwanda, told the Tory party conference that net migration should be “cut to tens of thousands”, and then prompted laughter from MPs by telling the Commons that “the Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokerati” were to blame for disruptive protests.
Following her return under Sunak, Braverman showed a keenness to step into every controversy going, being criticised for inflammatory language over an “invasion” of asylum seekers in small boats, and what she termed a preponderance of British Pakistani men in so-called grooming gangs, even managing to be contradicted by Essex police in a row over racist golly dolls seized from a pub.
In recent weeks, Sunak and his ministers have politely declined to endorse a series of Braverman views, including that multiculturalism in the UK has failed, that homelessness is largely “a lifestyle choice”, and that pro-Palestine protesters are taking part in “hate marches”.
All these were potentially tolerable for Sunak, with Braverman the public face of a hardline Home Office policy platform fully endorsed by No 10, notably the much-criticised plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.
Even calling the independence of the police into question might have been brushed over. But defying a prime minister so openly? That was too much.
James Cleverly was appointed home secretary in place of Suella Braverman.
The prime minister kicked off the cabinet shake-up of his ministerial team by sacking Suella Braverman after a weekend of remembrance ceremonies and protests.
Cleverly’s appointment as home secretary comes 48 hours before a crunch supreme court decision on Wednesday when it will announce whether the government’s Rwanda deportation plan can happen.
Over the summer, Cleverly issued an unusual public appeal to Sunak to keep his job as foreign secretary in the next reshuffle.
Earlier this year, Cleverly defied the Tory right by arguing that the UK should remain a signatory of the European convention on human rights (ECHR).
The new home secretary said in April that he was “not convinced” that leaving the ECHR was necessary to ensure the immigration system was robust, and that the UK had the clout to push for changes if needed, prompting speculation he may be uncomfortable with the move.
Backbench rebels had been pushing Sunak to harden the illegal migration bill so that ministers can ignore interim rulings of the European court of human rights.
After she was sacked, Braverman issued a statement noting it had been the “greatest privilege of her life” serving as home secretary, adding “I will have more to say in due course”.
In July, Cleverly told the Aspen Security Forum he would have to be dragged out of his job “with nail marks down the parquet flooring”, after speculation he could be moved to the defence brief to replace Ben Wallace.
Cleverly told the US conference: “If anyone in the UK is watching, listening, particularly you prime minister, I very much want to stay put … I very much want to stay put as foreign secretary. It’s a job that I love, I think it’s an important job.
The 54-year-old MP for Braintree was appointed foreign secretary by Liz Truss and kept in the brief by Sunak.
The prime minister had been criticised for not conducting a wide cabinet reshuffle in August, when a mini-shake-up was triggered by the departure of Wallace.
After the Conservatives’ double byelection defeat to Labour last month, many Tory figures have claimed Sunak has not been “bold enough” since entering No 10.
The party said Sunak was carrying out a wider reshuffle that “strengthens his team in government to deliver long-term decisions for a brighter future”.
Sunak’s reshuffle comes nine days ahead of the autumn statement, prompting a shut down of rumours over Jeremy Hunt’s future. Rumours had been swirling that Sunak was considering sacking Hunt, amid suggestions the chancellor would himself stand down as an MP before the next election, according to senior Conservatives.
With Braverman, a key figure of the Tory right out of Government, and the former prime minister David Cameron back in, questions have already been raised over whether the Conservatives will be able to unite in time ahead of a general election. Cameron is widely seen as part of the “one nation” moderate Tory caucus.
Cameron previously suggested he hoped to one day return to frontline politics, with his eyes on the foreign secretary brief.
News of Braverman’s exit came as the defence minister, James Heappey, was touring broadcast studios. Minutes before she was sacked, Heappey told LBC that Sunak and his team in No 10 had been “very clear she [Braverman] has his confidence and, in that sense, one would imagine that she will continue”.