UK: Cameron makes comeback as foreign secretary

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is seeking to inject new life into his faltering government with a major cabinet reshuffle: former prime minister David Cameron has been appointed foreign secretary, taking over from James Cleverly who will replace controversial Suella Braverman as home secretary. Europe’s press takes issue with Cameron in particular.

Der Standard (AT) /

He can’t turn the tide

A talented minister takes the stage, writes Der Standard:

“David Cameron may have failed in the Brexit referendum and made mistakes in foreign policy. But when you compare him with the inept loudmouths who were swept into parliament as a result of Brexit, the smart former PR man remains at the forefront of British politics. The new foreign secretary will certainly defend his party and government eloquently. But this is unlikely to be of much use to the Conservatives: the British remain determined to change.”

Sebastian Borger
RTE News (IE) /

Moderate wing strengthened

The Brexit camp among the British Conservatives is very weakened, writes RTE News:

“This would have been unthinkable in the Boris Johnson or Liz Truss premierships. David Cameron is of course a moderate who campaigned to keep Britain in the European Union and would have had no place in either of the previous administrations. ... This development is another sign that the hard-right, hard-Brexit wing of the party has continued to lose ground. Ms Braverman was once a leadership candidate and powerful representative of the Brexiteers.”

John Kilraine
Politiken (DK) /

The loser must clean up his own mess

The Conservatives are clearly in a bad way, Politiken notes:

“There could hardly be a clearer sign of the crisis engulfing the British Conservatives. As prime minister, David Cameron led the UK to the referendum that resulted in a painful Brexit in 2016. ... Now he is back at the helm of British politics, with all the credibility of a politician who once gambled everything — and lost. ... The greater historical justice is that Cameron must now share responsibility for cleaning up his own mess. And last but not least, he must try to limit the damage caused by the severed ties with the EU.”

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

An act of desperation

The decision only underlines how desperate the Tories are, La Libre Belgique concludes:

“To put it politely: no one has missed Cameron since he withdrew from politics. His return is part of a game of musical chairs played over the sacking of home secretary Suella Braverman, whose actions and words were characterised by a total lack of empathy and even viciousness. By appointing David Cameron as foreign secretary, Rishi Sunak is seeking to bolster his government’s credibility at home and abroad. The fact that he has pulled this unexpected joker out of his sleeve, with his faded prestige and credibility at half-mast, testifies above all to the state of disarray in which the British Conservatives find themselves.”

Olivier le Bussy
Financial Times (GB) /

Bad grades in foreign policy

The Financial Times notes that Cameron has made several major blunders in the past beyond the Brexit debacle:

“His gamble on a Brexit referendum he believed he could win backfired on a historic scale. He can also claim few successes on the foreign policy front. The 2011 intervention he backed in Libya left the country close to being a failed state. He was dovish towards China — which his party now sees as a growing threat. After leaving office, Cameron’s lobbying for [financial services company] Greensill Capital led to his being accused of a serious lack of judgment.”

Mediapart (FR) /

This politician should be relegated to the past

Cameron should know when to call it a day, says Mediapart:

“Why isn’t the page being turned on this this obsolete politician who caused his country to turn the page on the EU? The return of 57-year-old David Cameron, who seems to belong in another century, raises questions. All the more so given that the politician has been involved in lucrative activities with certain Chinese business circles for more than seven years now.”

Antoine Perraud
Denik N (CZ) /

A downgrade

Deník N is also baffled:

“This is the first time since the Second World War that a British ex-prime minister — once the most powerful person in the country — has returned to government as a minister — in other words, in a subordinate position. We’ll see how this balance of power works out for the Sunak cabinet. The prime minister also made more such changes — in what is known as a reshuffle — and some of them came as quite a surprise for the British. And even for the ousted ministers themselves.”

Jan Kudláček