David Cameron symbolises the politics of yesterday - time will tell if return is right thing says former Chancellor

David Cameron symbolises the politics of yesterday - time will tell if return is right thing says former Chancellor
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 14/11/2023

- 10:28

Updated: 14/11/2023

- 11:17

Former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has said "time will tell" if the Prime Minister's decision to sack Suella Braverman and bring back David Cameron was a mistake.

Speaking on GB News, the former Chancellor said:

“I have to say that every single person I have spoken to was very surprised at the appointment of David Cameron. Suella’s sacking was less surprising given what had happened.

“I think from a lot of the right wing, the old Brexit coalition think there is unease, I think there is concern that Suella, who spoke her mind, was very much on the centre-right of the party, and lots of people have said to me, ‘well, she said it how it is.’

“I think she spoke truth to power, that's the perception. So, she is out, and I understand those reasons. But of course, David Cameron's appointment took everybody by surprise.

“I think the gamble is that somehow David will give gravity and heft and statesmanship. I understand that and I think he's a capable man.

“But it is odd, having said that you're the change candidate after 13 years of failed politics to bring someone back who was a prime minister 11 years ago.

“I’ve been there, I’ve been in cabinet. I think there are lots of things that he has to consider.

“I think it is unusual to have a Foreign Secretary in the House of Lords. I have to say that. We haven't had one for 41 years. And of course when things happen around the world; incidents, outrages, atrocities - whatever happens, the Foreign Secretary will be in the House of Lords so MPs won't be able to scrutinize him.

On whether sacking Suella was the right call he continued: "I probably would have kept her but I fully understand why Rishi sacked her.”

“As a rule of thumb, I've always believed that you've got to be loyal to the leader because the one where we’re going to be totally wiped out is if we are fractured and we have all these different factions.

“I’ve backed every leader: I backed David Cameron, I backed Theresa May, I was Minister Theresa May. In Boris’s time I was in cabinet. Liz I backed until I was sacked.

“I've always said publicly that I will back Rishi Sunak and I intend to do so but I think he's navigating very choppy waters at the moment and only time will tell.

“Essentially you’re bringing back someone who has been off the bench for seven years and actually David Cameron symbolises the politics that was very much of yesterday: he hasn’t been in government for seven years.

“David has to say very early on that he accepts Brexit because otherwise the suspicion is that somehow he's going to be close to the EU.

“He’s got to do a speech or say something to signal that he’s accepted Brexit.

Praising the decision to make James Cleverly the new Home Secretary he said: “I think it's a shrewd appointment and he's a very capable politician; l likable and very straightforward man, and let's see what he says."

Urging the Tories not to self-implode he concluded: "A year is a very long time in politics and I think we’re in a difficult place now.

“But the one thing I remember thinking last autumn: we shouldn't panic. I mean, I agree that it's a difficult situation but we’ll make it worse if we panic and start chopping and changing.

“I don't see how changing a leader now is going to shift the dial. That may be regrettable to some colleagues, but you’ve got to be practical.

Actually when you look at the parliament, July will be the end of the parliament. Whether the election is in November or December, essentially the campaign will kick off in the summer.

“Essentially, the Prime Minister’s got six or seven months and I don’t think having a whole new leadership contest and a whole new set of elections for the Prime Minister, for the leader, makes sense now.”

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