This Monday has been an exciting day in UK politics. The sacking of former home secretary Suella Braverman by Conservative prime minister Rishi Sunak prompted a cabinet reshuffle which saw former prime minister David Cameron return to frontline politics as foreign secretary. Cameron has replaced James Cleverly, who became home secretary following the sacking of Mrs Braverman, who had recently accused the Metropolitan police of bias in its handling of pro-Palestinian protests.


Upon hearing this surprising news, many were most likely wondering how Cameron could return to government. After all, he had resigned his Witney, Oxfordshire seat in September 2016 after the UK voted to leave the European Union, and thus is no longer a member of parliament.


However, the former prime minister has accepted a peerage to take the post. This means that Lord Cameron will join the House of Lords and therefore is able to join government despite no longer being an elected member of parliament. This makes Lord Cameron the first former prime minister to return to government since Alec Douglas-Home in the 1970s.


It can be argued that this process is not entirely democratic, as Lord Cameron has been appointed to the House of Lords by Mr Sunak and is not currently an elected member of parliament who represents constituents. However, although unusual, a Lord joining government is not unheard of. For example, Lord Carrington served as foreign secretary between 1979 to 1982 under Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher.


In addition to this, questions have been raised over Lord Cameron’s support for Mr Sunak after he criticised his decision to cut the northern leg of the HS2 rail link. In response, Lord Cameron has said that although he “had disagreed with some individual decisions” by Mr Sunak’s government, “politics is a team enterprise”. Additionally, the prime minister’s spokesperson stressed the importance of having a “united team”.


Ultimately, Lord Cameron’s surprise comeback has been welcomed by centrist Conservative MPs but not so much by Brexit backers on the right of the party, who were more inclined to support Mrs Braverman. After all, Lord Cameron did campaign for ‘Remain’ in the divisive 2016 EU referendum.


With Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour far ahead in opinion polls following 13 years of Conservative government, 3 prime ministers since 2019 and a likely general election sometime next year, only time will tell if Lord Cameron’s appointment helps to stabilise Mr Sunak’s party, especially after running the risk of even more division as a result of the firing of Mrs Braverman.