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What will the return of David Cameron mean for UK foreign policy?


The return of the former prime minister as the new foreign secretary brings strengths and many vulnerabilities.

There are many reshuffles that provoke surprise; there are some that prompt bemusement as well. Rishi Sunak’s decision to install David Cameron as the seventh foreign secretary in seven years is one that does both. The former prime minister will bring undoubted strengths into the top team and to the UK’s relationships abroad. The concern must be, however, that these could be outweighed by the controversial legacy he brings too. And none of that says that he can bring back voters for his party at home.

He brings one clear advantage as Sunak’s new foreign secretary. As prime minister, he was comfortable on the world stage and congenial in the relationships he formed. Too much so, in one sense; he misinterpreted the cordial discussions he had with then German chancellor Angela Merkel and expected concessions on immigration that the European Union never produced.

But there are many countries in relationships that are crucial for the UK who would welcome the arrival of Cameron as a heavyweight and moderate foreign secretary. That matters, with conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine and a volatile US political climate.

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