Former British Prime Minister David Cameron walks outside 10 Downing Street in London, Britain November 13, 2023. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
FORMER prime minister David Cameron was named as the country’s new foreign secretary on Monday (13), in a surprise appointment made by Rishi Sunak as he reshuffled his top team.
Cameron, 57, served as British leader from 2010 to 2016, resigning after the outcome of the Brexit referendum, when Britain voted to leave the European Union.
His unexpected return to the front-line of British politics comes after he spent the last seven years writing his memoirs and involving himself in business, including Greensill Capital, a finance firm which later collapsed.
Greensill’s demise fuelled questions about the extent to which former leaders can use their status to influence government policy after Cameron repeatedly contacted senior ministers in 2020 to lobby for the firm.
“The prime minister has asked me to serve as his Foreign Secretary and I have gladly accepted. We are facing a daunting set of international challenges, including the war in Ukraine and the crisis in the Middle East. At this time of profound global change, it has rarely been more important for this country to stand by our allies, strengthen our partnerships and make sure our voice is heard,” Cameron wrote on X, formerly Twitter, following his appointment:
“While I have been out of front-line politics for the last seven years, I hope that my experience – as Conservative Leader for eleven years and Prime Minister for six – will assist me in helping the Prime Minister to meet these vital challenges.
“Britain is a truly international country. Our people live all over the world and our businesses trade in every corner of the globe. Working to help ensure stability and security on the global stage is both essential and squarely in our national interest. International security is vital for our domestic security.
Sunak’s office said on Monday that King Charles had approved giving Cameron a seat in Britain’s upper chamber, the House of Lords, allowing him to return to government as a minister despite no longer being an elected member of parliament.
Below are some facts about Cameron:
A former public relations executive for a commercial television company, he became Britain’s youngest leader in almost two centuries after the 2010 election when he led the nation’s first coalition government since World War Two.
A descendant of King William IV, who went to the exclusive private school Eton College and then Oxford University, he faced accusations of being out of touch as his government implemented a series of austerity measures following the global financial crisis.
In 2013, his government legalised same-sex marriage, which Cameron backed strongly, saying at the time: “I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.”
As prime minister, Cameron ordered military intervention in Libya, when Britain and its allies led international efforts to help oust then-leader Muammar Gaddafi in early 2011.
In 2016, a report by British lawmakers slammed the decision as flawed for contributing to the North African country’s political and economic collapse.
Cameron agreed to hold a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, campaigning successfully against secession as Scots voted by 55-45 per cent to stay in the UK.
Aiming to repeat that success, Cameron called a referendum on membership of the European Union in June 2016 to end decades-long arguing in his Tory party on the issue. However, Britain voted for Brexit and he announced he would quit as prime minister the following day.
In 2021, it emerged that Cameron had repeatedly contacted senior ministers in 2020 to lobby for the now-failed, supply-chain finance firm Greensill Capital, fuelling questions about the extent to which former leaders can use their status to influence government policy