Looking for a new lease of life A few months before the elections, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak created an election campaign. surprise Monday by reminding the government of its 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 constituted one provocation too many.
But no one saw coming the return to the forefront, at 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 Kingdom -United in several years of heartbreak.
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron, May 13, 2021 in London © AFP – Tolga Akmen
On in the service of the “vital challenges” of the moment, citing “the war in Ukraine and the crisis in the Middle East”.
“While I may have disagreed with some particular decisions, it is clear to me that Rishi Sunak is a strong and competent Prime Minister, who is showing exemplary leadership at a difficult time,” he said. he assured.
– Authority –
Arrived at Downing Street for a little over a year, after the scandals of the Boris Johnson era then the short-lived Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak, a 43-year-old former investment banker, really needed a shot to revive himself.
< /p>British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, November 12, 2023 in London © POOL – Chris Jackson
The legislative elections scheduled for next year – or at the latest in January 2025 – are approaching and his party, in power for almost 14 years old, is far behind Labor in the polls.
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 held on Saturday and accusing them of of bias.
The article had not received the green light from Downing Street, contrary to the usual rules.
British Interior Minister Suella Braverman arrives at 10 Downing Street on October 31, 2023 in London © AFP – Daniel LEAL
In addition to a blow to Rishi Sunak's authority, these remarks were considered as an attack on the operational independence of the police.
These controversial statements added to a series of controversies in recent months: she described the arrivals of refugees as an “invasion” and warned of a migratory “hurricane”, and had more recently estimated that some homeless people were sleeping in tents in accordance with a “chosen way of life”.
– “Desperate” –
She is replaced at the Home Office by the head of diplomacy James Cleverly, who himself gives way to David Cameron.
This is a crucial position as Rishi Sunak's government has prioritized the fight against the arrival of migrants across the Channel on makeshift boats.
James Cleverly will have to take responsibility for a controversial and very restrictive policy on the right to asylum as well as the British plan criticized by the UN to return illegal migrants, regardless of where they come from, to Rwanda.
Contested in court, this measure will undergo a key test on Wednesday when the Supreme Court will rule on its validity.
The dismissal of Suella Braverman, a figure on the right wing of the majority with declared political ambitions, risks reinforcing internal divisions within the conservative party. Some MPs supporting her had threatened to resign if this supporter of the “culture wars” left the government.
With David Cameron, Rishi Sunak “wants someone with some influence on the international scene but it is certainly also a distraction from the dismissal of Braverman”, notes Tim Bale, political scientist at Queen Mary University of London.
This expert, interviewed by AFP, said he was “very skeptical” about the success of the maneuver: “It seems desperate.”
The Tories remain weighed down by an economy which stagnation, the highest inflation in the rich countries of the G7 and the deep crisis of the public health system. A poll published this weekend by the Survation Institute suggests that the opposition will win an even stronger majority than that of Tony Blair in 1997.
Labour, refocused under its leader Keir Starmer, n However, it does not escape divisions. Several elected officials resigned, considering its position too pro-Israeli, including a deputy who slammed the door of the management team.
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