Most controversial UK political appointments and cabinet decisions including Suella Braverman and Nick Clegg
David Cameron is back in a frontline political role as Foreign Secretary, but it's not the first time a Prime Minister has made a shocking choice with their chosen asides
A major cabinet reshuffle is currently underway, as former Home Secretary Suella Braverman has been sacked and replaced by James Cleverly and former Prime Minister David Cameron has also been chosen as new Foreign Secretary.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sacked Braverman after protests took place during the Remembrance weekend, and this lead to calls for her to removed from the cabinet. During the protests, hundreds of thousands of people turn out for a pro-Palestinian march through London while counter-protesters were involved with clashes at the Cenotaph.
The sacking meant that some big changes were needed in frontline politics. Cleverly, who was Foreign Secretary, was chosen by Sunak to step in to Braverman's shoes. Then, David Cameron, who was PM from 2010 to 2016, was made a peer which allowed him to be the new Foreign Secretary.
The appointment has raised eyebrows, and NationalWorld's own editor has declared that Sunak is now weaker than ever as Cameron has reappeared in a government role after "crawling under a rock to escape his Brexit mess". But, this is far from the first time that a very unexpected person has been given a role in cabinet. Here, NationalWorld takes a look back at some of the previous most controversial cabinet choices.
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Michael Heseltine and Margaret Thatcher
Michael Heseltine, who entered the cabinet in 1979 as Secretary of State for the Environment, became a vocal critic of Margaret Thatcher when she was PM between 1979 and 1990, mostly because of her Eurosceptic views and confrontational approach in Parliament. He later became the Secretary of State for Defence, between 1983 and 1986, but then resigned over the Westland affair when he and Thatcher went public over a cabinet dispute as they disagreed about the future of Westland Helicopters.
In November 1990, Heseltine challenged Thatcher for the leadership of the Conservative Party, and his popularity at the polls was enough to deny her an outright victory on the first ballot. Thatcher's Thatcher subsequently resigned but Heseltine then lost to John Major on the second ballot. He was then, however, welcomed back to the cabinet in his former role as as Environment Secretary when Major became Prime Minister in 1992.
Nick Clegg and David Cameron
The Cameron–Clegg coalition was formed by David Cameron and Nick Clegg when Cameron was invited by the late Queen Elizabeth II to form a coalition government, following the resignation of then Prime Minister Gordon Brown on May 11 2010, after the general election on May 6. The general election resulted in a hung parliament with no single party having an overall majority in the House of Commons, which was the first time that had happened in 36 years.
The Conservatives had the most seats, but were 20 short of an overall majority. As a result, the first and third parties in terms of votes and seats, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats respectively, entered into negotiations with the aim of forming a full coalition, the first since the Second World War.
The coalition was led by Cameron as Prime Minister, while Clegg served as Deputy Prime Minister. The cabinet was composed of members of both Cameron's centre-right Conservative Party and Clegg's centrist Liberal Democrats. In total, there were sixteen Conservatives and five Liberal Democrats, with eight other Conservatives and one other Liberal Democrat attending cabinet but not members.
Each cabinet committee had a chair from one party and a deputy chair from the other, and there was also a cabinet committee specifically overseeing the operation of the coalition. Both parties' ministers shared collective responsibility for the government's positions, although the coalition agreement detailed several issues on which the parties agreed to differ, including approaches to education policies, environment and tax, and the Liberal Democrats abstained from voting in such cases.
Arlene Foster and Theresa May
In June 2017, Theresa May's government agreed to divert £1billion of funding to Northern Ireland as part of a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party to give the Conservatives a majority in parliament. DUP leader Arlene Foster spoke outside No. 10 Downing Street after the deal was agreed and said it would protect the then Prime Minister's grip on power.
The deal caused controversy as while the deal meant that an extra £1bn was given to Northern Ireland for things like infrastructure projects, broadband, health and education, no extra money was given to the devolved parliaments in Scotland and Wales. Two years later, when May was trying to gather support for her Brexit proposal, the DUP said they could not support her plan. In May 2019, May confirmed she would step down as PM in June after failing to get her Brexit deal through parliament.
Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman
When he became PM in October 2022, Rishi Sunak decided to reappoint Suella Braverman as Home Secretary, just days after she resigned from the role for breaching the ministerial code. Posting her resignation letter to former Prime Minister Liz Truss on X, Braverman wrote that she had “sent an official document from [her] personal email to a trusted parliamentary colleague.” She admitted: “This constitutes a technical infringement of the rules.” She claimed, however, that the documentation was due for publication “imminently”, but said that “nevertheless it is right for me to go.”
Her inclusion in the Sunak's new cabinet so soon after her resignation, after Truss herself resigned after just 43 days as PM, caused widespread outrage amongst the public and opposition parties, with Labour calling for a full investigation into security breaches committed by Braverman. She has since faced many controversies, including her refusal to apologise to a Holocaust survivor and apparent attempts to dodge’ speeding fine, before finally being sacked by Sunak today (Monday 13 November).