By Rupert Birkett-Eyles, Rosie Harris-Davison, Harry Merrell
Rishi Sunak’s recent government reshuffle raised a lot of questions, especially after his decision to bring back former Prime Minister David Cameron as foreign secretary seven years after his mandate.
Now that people had time to think and come to terms with Cameron’s return, Eastlondonlines took to the streets to find out the public’s opinion.
Antoine McQuinn, a 64-year-old retired hairdresser living in New Cross, said:
“Rishi is an Indian guy, a lot of white people don’t like him. I think Rishi knows at next year’s election he needs someone to represent British people, a white guy so he says ‘Let’s get David Cameron next to me to show that representation.’ Labour are winning at the moment, they have more support than the conservatives, so they need a guy like Cameron, with experience to help them gain more support.”
“He was a good Prime Minister until Brexit; he should never have called for a referendum. Cameron coming back doesn’t really bother me but I think that he is doing it for a reason. In my opinion he is back for the election, he represents British people in a better way than Rishi and that is why he’s been brought back in.”
“Rishi will not win the election, he wasn’t elected by the people, he needs help from someone who has been elected. Cameron is more composed than Rishi, he has a better set of views. You have to ask the question, ‘why bring Cameron back now?’ It’s all politics, Rishi needs the help to win.”
25-year-old sound engineer from Peckham Adam Markiewicz, said he was unsure where Sunak’s decision came from as Cameron “has been off the political scene for so long”. He couldn’t quite believe it had happened and he “initially found it funny” because it seemed quite out of the blue.
Markiewicz said the move could be a more calculated one, adding that: “maybe they’re bringing him back for the familiarity, as he was liked and trusted by loads of people before”.
“It could also be to keep a Conservative Government for the next election and get more voters on board, as loads of people voted for him to be PM before including usual Labour voters.”
However, Markiewicz said that there may be controversy over Cameron’s return. He said: “There’s a lot of fair criticism to be had of him, following things he’s done which can be frowned upon, such as the handling of Brexit. I think things like this will come to light again.”
“I’m a bit lost with the Conservative logic of doing things. The theme for the past few years seems to have been constantly shuffling people in the party around, so it seems very much in tune with their way of doing things. It isn’t out of character and frankly it’s confusing.”
Tony Barnava, a 57 –year-old computer programmer from Tottenham, said that Suella Braverman’s redundancy from the party was important to note when discussing Cameron’s return. He said her being told to leave was “a good move” and this could mean the party are “moving away from being quite hard-lined to taking a softer conservative stance, which Cameron seemed to represent before and he probably still will”.
Barnava said: “Cameron is a more personable character than Rishi Sunak, and that having him in the cabinet would help get the conservative votes in.”
“As a Labour supporter, I much prefer Cameron to many of the other Conservative Party cabinet members, and I’d rather him be PM than Rishi. I suppose it’s the lesser of two evils.”
22-year-old bartender Macey Lynch living in New Cross said she has “tapped out from the news because it’s just so depressing”.
“The cabinets are basically in shambles. And then David Cameron gets pulled out of the woodwork? Why? He seems irrelevant at this point, and he caused so many problems with Brexit. He was a weak leader before and I think he’ll be weaker as foreign secretary.
“What else at this point? Who else will they bring in next, maybe Nigel farage as prime minister? Or maybe they’ll raise Margaret Thatcher back from the dead!”
Lynch said that she could “speak for so many people, especially young people”. She also said that the younger generation “couldn’t care less about the government at this point”.
“The cabinet and Conservative Party are all just grabbing at the dust which is our country at the moment. They’ve made such a mess of things already.”
Evan Gee, a 26-year-old communications officer from Hither Green, said: “I thought that British politics couldn’t get any more surreal. I think the thing that really stands out for me is that he is an unelected peer, with an unelected Prime Minister. That for me is indicative of British politics.
“It’s difficult to wrap your head around how strange the situation is, whose authority is at what level. I think it is surprising to a lot of people
“The current government is worse than Thatcher’s. I hate Thatcher but at least she had a vision, this government has no vision.”