By Andrea Shalal
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Britain’s business and trade minister Kemi Badenoch on Tuesday shrugged off the idea of any post-Brexit bitterness affecting former leader and pro-EU campaigner David Cameron’s return to government with a simple phrase: “We’re all Brexiteers now.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appointed Cameron as Foreign Secretary on Monday in a shock return to politics for the former PM who resigned in 2016 after losing the referendum he called on Britain’s European Union membership.
The referendum split the Conservative Party, triggering years of bitter internal debate that destabilised every level of British politics. Many lawmakers – and voters – still identify themselves as ‘leavers’ or ‘remainers’
Part of his new role will see Cameron take over responsibility for managing relations with Brussels.
Asked about Cameron’s prior support for staying in the EU, Badenoch, who, like Sunak, backed leaving the bloc, said: “The phrase I use is that we’re all Brexiteers now.”
“The UK has left the European Union. I think the return of David Cameron is something you should be looking at in the context of just wider foreign policy,” she told Reuters in a telephone interview during a trip to sign a memorandum of understanding on trade with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Badenoch cited Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Israel’s renewed conflict with Hamas and bombardment of Gaza as developments which Cameron’s experience would help manage.
“Having somebody with a lot of experience in those areas filling a vacancy in the foreign policy area is quite exceptional,” she said.
“I wouldn’t call it a change in strategy. I would call it adapting to what’s going on in the world today.”
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal, writing by Alistair Smout; editing by William James)