Former British Prime Minister David Cameron has returned to government in a surprise development, taking charge of UK diplomacy. The changes in government followed a chaotic weekend in the British capital. Analysts say that the changes in the Prime Minister’s cabinet are aimed at attracting the electorate that, according to polls, currently supports Labor in the opposition.
Seven years after he stepped down as prime minister after losing the referendum on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, former prime minister David Cameron is back in government, taking charge of diplomacy following a cabinet reshuffle on Monday.
“It is a time when our country is going through difficult challenges. The conflict in the Mediterranean and the war in Ukraine,” said Mr. Cameron.
The war in Gaza continues. As prime minister in 2010, Mr Cameron called the Gaza Strip “a prison camp”, despite London maintaining a close alliance with Israel.
“Some of the conflicts in the Middle East have not changed. David Cameron is remembered for the intervention in Libya, which was not the greatest success”, says Bronwen Maddox with “Chatham House”.
Professor Anand Menon of King’s College tells VOA that British foreign policy is unlikely to change.
“It’s a signal mainly for the local audience,” he declared.
In 2015, when he was leading Britain, Mr Cameron wooed the Chinese president with a lavish state visit.
“This visit marks the beginning of a new era. Some have called it the ‘golden age’ of relations between Britain and China,” Mr Cameron said.
Since then, Britain-China relations have deteriorated amid rising security tensions and geopolitical tensions, says Professor Menon.
“The golden age is over, isn’t it? “I think the attitude, particularly within the Conservatives in parliament, has hardened considerably towards China,” Mr Menon added.
Mr Cameron replaces minister James Cleverly – who takes on the role of home secretary, replacing Ms Suella Braveman, who was sacked on Monday.
The changes came after a newspaper op-ed in which Ms Braveman accused the police of being biased towards the left during pro-Palestinian protests, which she called “hate marches”. The article was not approved by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
On Saturday, at least 300,000 people took part in a pro-Palestinian protest in London calling for a ceasefire. The far right reacted with violent protests, while the police made at least 120 arrests.
Reports speak of a significant increase in anti-Semitic and Islamophobic attacks since the outbreak of the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“It highlights the existing divisions between the parties, which makes it more likely that this kind of thing will explode along party political lines. In the case of the conflict in Gaza, the division appears in a sharper form, given the high level of violence on both sides in this terrible war,” says Professor Menon.
Analysts say the prime minister’s cabinet reshuffle is an attempt to broaden the appeal of the ruling Conservatives, as opposition Labor leads the polls as Britain heads to the polls before the end of next year.