Lucy Warmington recounts the chaos of the last week in British politics.
On Monday 13th November, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak undertook a reshuffling of his cabinet in which he dismissed Suella Braverman from her role as home secretary. James Cleverly replaced Braverman as home secretary, and former Prime Minister David Cameron returned to take on Clevery’s role as foreign secretary.
Braverman was dismissed as home secretary due to her divisive and inflammatory stance on the recent pro-Palestinian marches throughout London, and undermining Downing Street in an article she penned for the Times of London. Braverman publically labelled the solidarity protesters “hate marchers”, and in her article for The Times accused the Met police of having double standards and a leniency toward pro-Palestinian protests, likening the protests to the “kind we are more used to seeing in Northern Ireland.” The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley had deemed the protest safe to go ahead, stating there was no legal grounds for banning them.
Braverman accused the Met police of having double standards and a leniency toward pro-Palestinian protests, likening the protests to the ‘kind we are more used to seeing in Northern Ireland.’
Sunak stated that the article published in The Times was not approved by his office, a direct breach of ministerial code by Braverman. Following pressure from both sides of parliament Braverman was sacked as home secretary.
Following her sacking, Braverman released a letter to the PM in which she recounted her “achievements” as home secretary, and deeply criticised the PM for a “lack of interest” and repeated failure of keeping his promises in terms of key policies put forward by Braverman. One such policy which the PM “failed to deliver on”, but was pushed by the former home secretary, was to pull the UK out of the European Convention on Human Rights in order to deliver on Braverman’s ‘stop the boats’ immigration policy.
Since the reshuffle, the Conservative Party has pushed for emergency legislation to re-start the Rwanda policy, which the Supreme court has deemed unlawful. This is one amongst many of the Tories’ initiatives to limit ‘illegal’ immigration into the UK and ‘stop the boats’.
Cameron’s unexpected return to government was announced on the Conservative Party’s X (formerly Twitter) account, which simply stated “He’s back” with a flame emoji. As Cameron is not an elected MP, Sunak has made him a life peer in the House of Lords in order to make him eligible for the foreign secretary role. As a member of the House of Lords, Lord Cameron is not directly accountable to members of the House of Commons, where the majority of MPs sit.
Critics of the move are concerned that the foreign secretary is no longer directly open to scrutiny by the House of Commons, especially at a time of unprecedented global unrest, including conflicts in the Middle East, Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, and Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Critics of the move are concerned that the foreign secretary is no longer directly open to scrutiny by the House of Commons, especially at a time of unprecedented global unrest.
On Wednesday 15th November, a motion put forward by the Scottish National Party to end "collective punishment of the Palestinian people" and urge "all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire" was voted down in parliament by 125 to 294. 56 Labour Party members broke official party lines to vote for the ceasefire, with 10 party frontbenchers resigning from their posts over the vote.
The following day, Lord Cameron made his first official visit to Ukraine, reaffirming the UK’s moral, diplomatic, economic, and military support for Ukraine to President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Meanwhile, another former UK PM, Tony Blair, has said he is open to a role in ending the crisis in Israel and Palestine. Blair’s time in Downing Street is most remembered for his call to execute a military invasion of Iraq in 2003.