David Cameron's return to government signals 'the grown ups are back in the building' Clare Foges tells LBC

14 November 2023, 08:27

David Cameron's return signals 'the grown ups are back in the building' Clare Foges tells LBC

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

David Cameron's return to government shows "the grown-ups are back in the building" after a period of "lightweight ministers" who just wanted to "stoke up culture wars," Clare Foges tells LBC.

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Rishi Sunak will assemble his new-look Cabinet featuring Lord David Cameron for their first meeting after the sacking of Suella Braverman in a dramatic reshuffle that triggered anger on the Tory right.

The former prime minister has returned to frontline politics, joining Rishi Sunak's Cabinet seven years after his failure to win the 2016 Brexit referendum effectively cut short his political career.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast she said Cameron would bring "seriousness and gravitas" to Rishi Sunak's cabinet.

Nick pointed out Clare Foges knew the former PM "better than most", having been a speechwriter for him while he was in office.

"I think this says to me that the grownups are back in the building, a lot of people have felt the grownups have left the building, with a few notable exceptions like Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove."

She said over the last few years there had been an ascendancy of lightweights, ministers whose job it was to stoke another culture war."

Read more: Andrew Marr: Rishi rolls the dice by bringing Cameron back - but a more troubling question remains...

Read more: David Cameron has an enormous albatross around his neck... China, writes Megan Gittoes

Ben Kentish praises the PM's cabinet reshuffle as a return to 'centrist politics'

Britain's new Foreign Secretary David Cameron will need little introduction to world leaders, diplomats and voters.

Clare told Nick while Mr Cameron's appointment wouldn't "turn the polls around for Rishi Sunak" the controversial appointment could have been done "for the good of the country."

She said it would help to improve the UK's standing around the world.

"David Cameron is on first-name terms with many leaders around the world, the way that the world's diplomatic class views David Cameron is very different to the way Twitter views him. I think it's good for the UK and good for our reputation."

In a major gamble to revive his electoral fortunes, the Prime Minister gave the former leader a peerage to bring him back from the political wilderness and promoted loyalists to the top team.

Lord Cameron will be back around the Cabinet table on Tuesday for the first time since he stood down as prime minister and quit as an MP after losing the Brexit referendum in 2016.

He admitted such a return is "not usual" but said he wants to support Mr Sunak through a "difficult job at a hard time".

The reshuffle - launched after Mr Sunak sacked Mrs Braverman as home secretary - risked inflaming the rift in the Conservative Party.

Natasha Clark discusses Cabinet reshuffle as David Cameron returns to government

The return of Mr Cameron then to frontline politics offers something of a surprise, given that Mr Sunak - who backed Brexit in defiance of his then party leader - has not always been kind about his many Tory predecessors.

Recently Mr Sunak used his party conference speech to hit out at "30 years of a political system which incentivises the easy decision, not the right one", criticising the "vested interests standing in the way of change".

The decision to scrap the northern leg of HS2, confirmed in the same speech, also prompted a rare public rebuke from Lord Cameron who labelled the decision the "wrong one".

The newly minted member of the House of Lords will now enter Mr Sunak's government, taking up one of the great offices of state in a remarkable return for the former leader as the UK grapples with the conflict in Gaza and the war in Ukraine.

The return has already raised eyebrows, but it is not unprecedented - Alec Douglas-Home, after less than a year as prime minister, went on to serve as foreign secretary between 1970 and 1974.

Another former leader Lord Hague also went on to serve as Mr Cameron's first foreign secretary.

But Lord Cameron's legacy still remains contested and criticised in some quarters, with his former partners in Government the Liberal Democrats quick to call for his peerage to the blocked.

Clare Foges was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast
Clare Foges was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast. Picture: LBC/Alamy

The party's Layla Moran said: "Bringing back a scandal-hit, unelected former prime minister who has been criticising Sunak's government at every turn has the stench of desperation. There is not even the bottom of the barrel left for Sunak to scrape in the Conservative Party.

"David Cameron was at the heart of the biggest lobbying scandal of recent times. Handing him a peerage makes a mockery of our honours system. Cameron's peerage should be blocked given his shady past."

Few returns to the political front line have been as unexpected as this - Mr Cameron will hope, on the second time of asking, he can secure a more successful legacy on the global stage.