Justin Tallis Archives Agence France-Presse Prime Minister from 2010 to 2016, David Cameron called the Brexit referendum and campaigned for remaining in the European Union, its failure plunging his party and the Kingdom -United in several years of heartbreak.
Struggling in the polls a few months before the elections, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak created a surprise on Monday by recalling to the government his predecessor, David Cameron, the man of the Brexit referendum, as head of diplomacy .
Expected for months, a change in the conservative government seemed inevitable to dismiss the very right-wing Minister of the Interior, Suella Braverman, whose criticism of the police last week was constituted the provocation too many.
But no one saw coming the return to the forefront, at the age of 57, of David Cameron, who had called the Brexit referendum and campaigned for remaining in the European Union, his failure plunging his party and the United Kingdom into several years of heartbreak.
The one who was prime minister from 2010 to 2016 said he wanted to put his experience at the service of the “vital challenges” of the moment, citing “the war in Ukraine and the crisis in the Middle Orient.”
“I have disagreed with some particular decisions, but politics is teamwork […] and I think Rishi Sunak is a good prime minister doing a difficult job in a difficult time,” he said. he justified.
Arrived at Downing Street a little over a year ago, after the scandals of the Boris Johnson era, then the ephemeral Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak, a 43-year-old ex-investment banker, needed to make an impression to try to relaunch himself.
As the legislative elections, scheduled for January 2025 at the latest, approach, his party, in power for nearly 14 years, is far behind Labor in the polls, in a gloomy economic context.
The The dismissal of Suella Braverman, a figure on the right wing of the majority with declared political ambitions, however risks reinforcing internal divisions within the majority. And all the more so since the return of David Cameron seems to mark a refocusing, contrasting with certain recent positions taken by Rishi Sunak towards the ultra-conservatives and his attempt to embody change.
David Cameron “has experience […], but I don’t think it’s the best choice for public opinion,” said Alice Kristiansen, 24, interviewed by Agence France-Presse (AFP) in the streets of London. “He represents too much of the past and he hasn’t left a good situation for the Tories. »
“He’s a safe personality for temporary work,” says Matt Evans, 50. “I don’t think anyone feels it’s realistic that [the Conservatives] will stay in power after the next election. »
With David Cameron, Rishi Sunak “wants someone with some influence on the international scene,” notes Tim Bale, political scientist at Queen Mary University in London. This expert, interviewed by AFP, sees it as an attempt to “distract” from the crisis surrounding Ms. Braverman and to seduce the centrist electorate, but says he is “very skeptical” about the success of the maneuver: “It seems desperate. »
Events came to a head last week when Suella Braverman, known for her outrageous statements, criticized the London police in an op-ed in the Times, accusing them of authorizing the pro-Palestinian march that took place. was held on Saturday and accused him of bias.
The article had not received the green light from Downing Street, contrary to the usual rules.
The controversial statements came on top of a series of controversies in recent months: she called refugee arrivals an “invasion” and, more recently, said some homeless people were sleeping in tents in accordance with a “way of life.” chosen.”
His departure launched a big additional game of musical chairs, after years of constant instability in power: the Ministers of the Environment and even Health changed.
At the Home Office, Suella Braverman is replaced by the former head of diplomacy James Cleverly, who himself gave way to David Cameron.
This is a position crucial, since Rishi Sunak's government has made the fight against the arrival of migrants across the Channel on makeshift boats a priority.
James Cleverly will have to assume a very restrictive policy on the right to asylum as well that the British plan criticized by the UN to return illegal migrants, regardless of where they come from, to Rwanda. This measure will have a key test on Wednesday when the Supreme Court rules on its validity.