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David Cameron is a lord now

Former prime minister David Cameron is the new Foreign Secretary – a political comeback confirmed by Rishi Sunak on Monday.

The move came as part of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet reshuffle, triggered by the sacking of Suella Braverman as home secretary.

James Cleverly replaced her, which left the foreign secretary position open, and Lord Cameron has been drafted in, marking a shock return to frontline politics after seven years away.

When did David Cameron become a lord?

The former prime minister was parachuted into the House of Lords on Monday, to allow him to take the Cabinet position.

The UK’s unwritten constitution does not actually dictate that a person needs to be a member of the House of Commons to take up a post as minister, or even be in the Cabinet, and in the past, you did not even need to be in the Lords to run the country. Alec Douglas-Home, who was prime minister from 1963 to 1964, was in neither house for nine days while holding the most powerful office in the land.

However, the ministerial code states that you must be either in the Lords or the Commons in order to be a government minister, and since Lord Cameron has not been an MP since 2016, granting him a peerage was the only way to enable him to become Foreign Secretary. His peerage title is yet to be confirmed.

Have lords been in the Cabinet before?

There are many previous examples of Lords members holding Cabinet positions. Baroness Morgan served as secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport under Boris Johnson from July 2019 until February 2020.

Lord Peter Mandelson was business secretary and, effectively, deputy prime minister in Gordon Brown’s government, despite having left the Commons in 2004.

Lord Andrew Adonis also served as transport secretary in the same government, despite never having been elected to the Commons.

Where will David Cameron sit?

Lord Cameron will sit in the Lords, rather than the Commons, which will add some complications to his Cabinet role.

It will mean a significant portion of his everyday business will be delegated to his second in command – currently Andrew Mitchell, the international development minister.

When did David Cameron quit as PM?

Lord Cameron was prime minister between 2010 and 2016 but quit after losing the Brexit referendum to Vote Leave.

In his resignation speech Lord Cameron said he was “very proud and very honoured to have been prime minister of this country for six years”.

He continued: “Although leaving Europe was not the path I recommended, I am the first to praise our incredible strengths.

“I said before that Britain can survive outside the European Union and indeed that we could find a way.

“Now the decision has been made to leave, we need to find the best way and I will do everything I can to help.”

Initially Lord Cameron said he would remain on the Conservative backbenches, but on 12 September, 2016 he announced he would be resigning his Witney, Oxfordshire seat with immediate effect.

Lord Cameron held the seat for 15 years, first entering the Commons in June 2001. He was succeeded by Robert Courts, who remains in the role.

Upon resigning, the former prime minister said he didn’t want his presence on the backbenches to serve as a “distraction” to Theresa May, who replaced him in No 10.

“As a former PM it’s very difficult to sit as a backbencher and not be an enormous diversion and distraction from what the government is doing,” he said. “I don’t want to be that distraction.”

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