Former United Kingdom prime minister, David Cameron made a surprise return to frontline politics on Monday after his serving successor, Rishi Sunak appointed him foreign secretary in a reshuffle triggered by the firing of interior minister Suella Braverman.
Prime Business Africa recalls that this same Cameron had in 2016 described Nigeria and Afghanistan as “fantastically corrupt” in a private discussion with the late Queen Elizabeth even though he was aware “there were multiple cameras in the room.”
While briefing Her Majesty about an anti-corruption summit scheduled for that week in London, the then British leader said: “We’ve got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain… Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world.”
Meanwhile, the return of Cameron means Sunak is leaning towards a more centrist, experienced politician rather than appeasing the populist right of his party which supported Braverman. This was the latest reset for a prime minister whose Tory party is badly lagging the Labour Party before an election expected next year.
Reacting to his appointment, Cameron said: “While I have been out of front-line politics for the last seven years, I hope that my experience — as Conservative leader for 11 years and prime minister for six — will assist me in helping the prime minister to meet these vital challenges.”
Cameron was Britain’s leader from 2010 to 2016 before quitting after losing the referendum on Britain leaving European Union membership. His return to power reawakens divisive debate over Brexit: he was hated by many on the right of the party after he campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU.
The ministerial reshuffle followed growing criticism of Braverman from opposition lawmakers and members of the governing Conservative Party, enabling Sunak to bring in allies and remove ministers he felt were not performing.
His hand was forced when the ever-controversial Braverman defied him last week in an unauthorised article accusing police of “double standards” at protests, suggesting they were tough on right-wing demonstrators, but easy on pro-Palestinian marchers.
The opposition Labour Party said that inflamed tensions between a pro-Palestinian demonstration and a far-right counter-protest on Saturday, when nearly 150 people were arrested.
While her removal was not a surprise, it was the appointment of Cameron that caused shock in the party, welcomed by more centrist lawmakers but loathed by some on the right who described it as the ultimate “Brexit surrender.”
Cameron, 57, said he “gladly accepted” the role as Britain faced “a daunting set of international challenges,” adding that: “It has rarely been more important for this country to stand by our allies, strengthen our partnerships and make sure our voice is heard.”
“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,” he wrote on X.
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