UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman attends the weekly government cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street on May 23, 2023 in London, England.
Leon Neal | Getty Images News | Getty Images
LONDON — U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday fired controversial Interior Minister Suella Braverman, as he begins a reshuffle of his top cabinet.
Sunak’s office confirmed that Foreign Minister James Cleverley will replace Braverman. In a shock move, former Prime Minister David Cameron was announced as the new foreign minister.
In a statement on social media platform X, Cleverly said it was an “honour to be appointed as Home Secretary.”
“The goal is clear. My job is to keep people in this country safe,” he added.
Cameron said in a statement that the country was facing a “daunting set of international challenges” amid ongoing wars in Ukraine and 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 said.
“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.”
Braverman drew widespread criticism last week after printing an op-ed in The Times newspaper that ignored guidance from Downing Street and accused London police of political bias in policing protests.
The home secretary has long been a contentious figure. She resigned from the same job under Sunak’s predecessor Liz Truss due to a serious breach of the ministerial code, after she sent an official document from a personal email.
Braverman has repeatedly referred to pro-Palestine marches in London as “hate marches.” In the letter to The Times, she said that the protests were “disturbingly reminiscent” of past scenes in Northern Ireland — comments widely condemned as both incendiary and inaccurate.
A number of far-right groups clashed with police in London following her remarks, which were criticized as undermining confidence in police ahead of a substantial protest on Armistice Day on Saturday.
CNBC has reached out to the U.K. government for comment.
The U.K. has formally endorsed Israel’s right for self-defense following the harrowing terror attacks carried out by Palestinian militant group Hamas on Oct. 7. Sunak has since backed calls for a humanitarian pause in Israel’s retaliatory bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which has claimed thousands of Palestinian lives.
Late last month, Conservative frontbencher Paul Bristow was sacked as ministerial aide at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology after urging Sunak in a two-page open letter to demand a permanent cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.
Braverman also drew public anger earlier this month after describing homelessness as a “lifestyle choice” and floating a new policy restricting the use of tents for rough sleepers.
The reshuffle comes as Sunak looks to reassert his authority and reposition his ruling Conservative Party, which trails the main opposition Labour Party by big margins across all polling ahead of a general election before January 2025.