Rishi Sunak will assemble his new-look Cabinet featuring Lord David Cameron for their first meeting after the sacking of Suella Braverman in a dramatic reshuffle that triggered anger on the Tory right.
In a major gamble to revive his electoral fortunes, the Prime Minister gave the former leader a peerage to bring him back from the political wilderness and promoted loyalists to the top team.
Lord Cameron will be back around the Cabinet table on Tuesday for the first time since he stood down as prime minister and quit as an MP after losing the Brexit referendum in 2016.
He admitted such a return is “not usual” but said he wants to support Mr Sunak through a “difficult job at a hard time”.
The reshuffle – launched after Mr Sunak sacked Mrs Braverman as home secretary – risked inflaming the rift in the Conservative Party.
Former minister Dame Andrea Jenkyns submitted a furious letter of no confidence in Mr Sunak to the Tory backbench 1922 Committee as a result of the decision.
Deputy Tory chairman Lee Anderson was among hardline MPs at a Commons meeting where concerns were shared about Mrs Braverman’s ousting after she accused the police of bias.
Tensions could be further ramped up on Wednesday, when the Supreme Court hands down its judgment on the Rwanda asylum policy central to Mr Sunak’s promise to “stop the boats” crossing the Channel.
Mrs Braverman, who warned she will have “more to say in due course”, could add to pressure by championing leaving the European Court of Human Rights if the Government loses the appeal.
In a foreign policy speech to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London’s Guildhall, Mr Sunak vowed to stand up for tolerance and free speech as “conflicts overseas create division at home”.
James Cleverly was appointed Home Secretary as he was moved from the Foreign Office to make way for Lord Cameron, while promotions included Victoria Atkins to Health Secretary and Laura Trott to Treasury Chief Secretary.
In a conciliatory move to the Tory right, GB News presenter and former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey was brought back into Government as a minister without portfolio.
In another sign Mr Sunak is looking ahead to the election, Richard Holden replaced Greg Hands as Conservative Party chairman following a string of by-election losses and a mauling in council contests during his nine months in charge.
Mr Sunak continued reshuffling the junior ranks on Monday evening and is expected to make a few more alterations on Tuesday.
Conservative former Cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg said the reshuffle would not help win the Tories the next election, suggesting it will benefit the Reform party founded by Nigel Farage.
The MP told BBC Newsnight: “The Champagne will be flowing in the Reform party headquarters tonight after what’s been done today.”
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Sir Jacob said Mrs Braverman was “sacked for being right” and accused the Prime Minister of being “too effete to care enough about key issues, like tackling immigration, that voters mind about so much”.
Lord Cameron’s appointment was a massive shock in Westminster not just because of the rare return of a former prime minister to Government but because of his past closeness with China.
He has also been critical of Mr Sunak’s scrapping of the northern leg of HS2 in a conference speech in which the Prime Minister distanced himself from the legacy of his predecessors.
Lord Cameron also faces questions over the Greensill affair, in which he privately lobbied ministers in an attempt to win Greensill Capital access to an emergency coronavirus loan scheme.
The Commons Treasury Committee said the former MP displayed a “significant lack of judgment”, but cleared him of breaching lobbying rules.
In his first interview since returning to frontline politics, Lord Cameron said he believes “that is all dealt with and in the past” as he said he has quit all his roles.
“I now have one job, as Britain’s Foreign Secretary,” he told broadcasters.
No 10 stressed that the Cabinet should always “speak with one voice” in highlighting the importance of collective responsibility binding ministers and explaining Mrs Braverman’s sacking.
She had made inflammatory comments suggesting homelessness is sometimes a “lifestyle choice” and wrote an unauthorised newspaper article criticising the way police have handled pro-Palestinian “mobs”.
Mr Sunak’s press secretary rejected “tick-box diversity” after the reshuffle left the four great offices of state being held by privately-educated men for the first time since the Tories’ 2010 election win.
Published: by Radio NewsHub