Rishi Sunak faced yet another challenging week during his tenure as the Prime Minister as he sacked Home Secretary Suella Braverman after she was criticised for handling of police tactics during pro-Palestinian protests. Braverman's criticism of the Metropolitan Police drew far-right groups into clashes with officers, sparking calls for her dismissal.
Parle of controversies
Braverman's dismissal was not impulsive but a result of mounting controversies. From comparing pro-Palestinian protests to Northern Ireland's Troubles to insensitive remarks about homelessness and asylum seekers, her statements fuelled criticism. Previous controversies include comments on grooming gangs and describing asylum seekers' arrival as an "invasion." The decision reflects a pattern of inflammatory remarks.
Scathing attack on PM while he meets inflation target
Suella Braverman launched a scathing attack on Rishi Sunak, accusing him of repeated failures and broken immigration pledges after he dismissed her as home secretary. In a pointed letter to the prime minister, Braverman claimed a secret deal secured her cabinet role, emphasising her pivotal support for Sunak's ascent to No 10. Braverman warned that Sunak's "magical thinking" without a credible Plan B could jeopardise a year's effort on the small boat crossings law. Interestingly, Sunak expressed satisfaction as inflation dropped to 4.6%, meeting his year-end target. Despite recent turbulence, Sunak affirmed his commitment to fiscal discipline and reducing inflation. He emphasised the importance of staying the course to address economic challenges and acknowledged the need to work towards further reducing inflation.
While not widely popular, Braverman’s "lifestyle choice" remark about rough sleeping drew widespread dismay. Sunak's initial hesitation to sack her, despite internal pressure, might stem from a desire not to bolster her opposition leader campaign. But, Braverman's leadership aspirations face hurdles; the latest Conservative Home survey ranks her fifth among cabinet ministers, and she must secure sufficient MP votes to enter the top two for party members' consideration—a challenging task given her past performance.
Dame Priti Patel has directed Rishi Sunak to proceed with the Rwanda plan in the UK, despite the Supreme Court's ruling. Expressing disappointment with the decision on refoulement, Patel urged the Prime Minister to ensure the plan's implementation, emphasizing the agreed partnership with Rwanda in good faith and the lawfulness of processing asylum claims in safe third countries. She stressed the need for careful review and consideration of the judgment's full details, acknowledging the legal acceptance of the principle involved.
Good news for India
This appointment allows Cameron to reshape his legacy, aiming to be remembered for revitalising the Abraham Accords post-Hamas. Positive for India, Cameron, a staunch supporter, visited six times, enhancing business ties and meeting with Dr Jaishankar. The UK added India to its safe states list, expediting the return of illegal entrants. Cameron tried, albeit with little success, to strengthen two-way trade and investment when he was prime minister. He made three visits to India in that role and hosted Narendra Modi in London in 2015. His last publicised visit was as a private individual in December 2016, when he was paid a rumoured £200,000 to speak at a Hindustan Times conference.
David Cameron appointed as UK’s Foreign Secretary, diaspora cheers his political comeback
In a series of surprising re-shuffles, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly was transferred to the Home Office, and unexpectedly, Rishi Sunak brought former Prime Minister David Cameron out of retirement to become the new Foreign Secretary. While the Middle East conflict influenced the reshuffle, Sunak's primary aim is to convey a specific message to Conservative Party voters for the impending general elections by January 2025. Braverman, fired twice, symbolises far-Right urging stringent policies. Lord Cameron, a moderate conservative, opposed Brexit, left after 2016 referendum. Cameron's appointment doesn't signal a shift to the centre by Sunak.
Sunak aims to blend Braverman's agenda with Cameron's stability, appealing to a divided party. Success hinges on steadying the ship before elections amid Labour's internal divisions.
Lord Cameron, one of the first engagements after being appointed the Foreign Secretary was a meeting with India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, where they discussed world politics, especially the situation in the Middle East.
David Cameron’s comeback has been controversial, especially due to his sudden departure post-EU referendum and his alleged relation with the Green Sill finance scandal. Hardcore Brexiteers are also unhappy about a ‘Remainer’ negotiating and discussing foreign policies with the EU on behalf of Britain. Though Lord Cameron is believed to be a critic of PM Sunak, especially during his recent U-turn on HS2, his special appointment to the Cabinet has led to open speculations of him becoming the party’s leading face sooner or later.
Lord Cameron’s reappointment has been cheered and welcomed by the diaspora, who loved Mr Cameron as their Prime Minister. He was the first to start Diwali, Eid and Vaisakhi celebrations for the community at 10 Downing Street, calling himself “Britain’s first ever British-Asian Prime Minister” during an interview with Asian Voice, pre-2015 elections. His young children were seen running around these community events in Indian attires, eating sweets such as laddoos and he also visited India a few times in his official capacity.
Lord Cameron was a regular visitor to Neasden Temple and Gurudwaras too, with wife Samantha and the first to welcome India’s newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 to London, especially at the Wembley Stadium, in front of 40,000 spectators. He brought Priti Patel to the front of UK politics by coining a role as the champion of the diaspora and the rest is history. Rishi Sunak also became an MP for the first time in 2015, joining David Cameron’s government.
Lord Dolar Popat, a long-standing supporter of Lord Cameron for years, sent him a congratulatory letter, welcoming him back into UK politics. He wrote, “Your appointment has come at a difficult time for the country and amidst many events around the world from the war in Ukraine to the conflict in Gaza. During this difficult time, it is important that we have people with experience and expertise in key roles and I'm glad that the role of Foreign Secretary has been filled by you, our former Prime Minister and a good friend of mine.
“During this time of Diwali, we look for the light amongst the darkness and I am glad that we can see that represented by this appointment. I am reminded today about all the work you did to modernise the Conservative Party, bringing in the British Indian community and being ambitious about Britain's role in the international community…”
Lord Cameron also had a relatively easy-going relationship with UK’s ethnic and foreign press. His first interview with Asian Voice was as the Opposition Leader, followed by a few exclusives as the Prime Minister.