Rishi Sunak has 'left the pitch free' for Lord Cameron to be Foreign Sec and 'toughen the line on Israel', says former diplomat

16 April 2024, 07:57 | Updated: 16 April 2024, 07:59

Cameron is doing the right thing while Rishi lets him be Foreign Sec, says former Ambassador

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A former diplomat has said Lord Cameron is doing "well as Foreign Secretary" while Rishi Suank lets him get on with the job, but admits Sir Keir Starmer has a "tough gig" while the government is "doing the right thing."

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Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Lord Kim Darroch the former UK National Security Advisor for his assessment of the performance of "the current PM, the man who was PM and the man who wants to be PM"

Later today Rishi Sunak will urge Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to show restraint after the thwarting of an Iranian attack over the weekend.

Britain joined the US and other allies in shooting down Iranian attack drones on Saturday night and has subsequently joined the US in urging calm in the region.

Read more: Israel planning ‘painful’ strike on Iran despite Western calls for calm after unprecedented missile attack

Read more: Iran must be 'hit back twice as hard', says ex-defence secretary Ben Wallace as Rishi Sunak calls for 'restraint'

Lord Darroch told Nick although he was "not a universal fan of this government's performance" that David Cameron has "done well as Foreign Secretary. I think he has visibly toughened the line on Israel, and the Israeli ground operation in Gaza.

"I think he is about a week ahead of Anthony Blinkin has been saying, which is a good place to be. And I think he speaks with influence and authority and having been a former Prime Minister he knows some of the figures, he can get in to see people like Netanyahu."

Lord Darroch was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari
Lord Darroch was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari. Picture: Alamy

But, the former Ambassador told Nick the current PM appears to have left Lord Cameron to get on with the job, saying: "I think Sunak does fine, but he asked David Cameron to take on the job so he could focus on domestic affairs and he has pretty much left the pitch free to Cameron to be a very very senior Foreign Secretary."

The Prime Minister had been due to speak to Mr Netanyahu on Monday, but with the Israeli prime minister locked in a war cabinet this proved not to be possible.

In a Commons statement, Mr Sunak said he would "express our solidarity with Israel in the face of this attack" and "discuss how we can prevent further escalation".

The Foreign Secretary is also expected to visit Israel soon, and on Monday urged Tel Aviv to be "smart as well as tough" by not escalating the conflict with Iran.

Israel is still considering its response to Saturday night's attack, which saw Iran launch around 350 drones and missiles, but on Monday night said the barrage "will be met with a response".

Tzipi Hotovely, Israeli ambassador to the UK, warns that the UK could be a target for Iran

On Sir Keir Starmer, "the man who wants to be PM," the former diplomat admitted it was a "tough gig."

"I think for Keir Starmer, it's tough when this kind of global crisis is happening and basically you just have to sound supportive because you think the government is doing the right thing, and they are doing the right thing at the moment, and you're relegated to the final sentence in any news bulletin. It's a tough gig."

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