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David Cameron Steps Down from Frontbench Position During Post-Election Conservative Reshuffle

Rishi Sunak has assembled the shadow cabinet, but he is not set to retain leadership for a long time, sparking speculation about who will take the reins of the Conservatives next.

In the aftermath of his party’s defeat in the general election, former Tory leader and foreign secretary of Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet, David Cameron, has stepped down.

Lord Cameron’s resignation from the Conservatives’ frontbench occurred during a reshuffle as the Tories transition into the shadow cabinet.

Having assumed the role of foreign secretary in an unexpected comeback to the Cabinet in November, Lord Cameron has been succeeded by his former deputy, Andrew Mitchell.

“It has been a great honor to serve as foreign secretary, but it is evident that the Conservative Party in opposition will need to shadow the new foreign secretary from the Commons. Therefore, I informed Rishi Sunak that I would step back. I am pleased that my good friend Andrew Mitchell has taken on the position of shadow foreign secretary,” Lord Cameron stated in an X post.

Describing the election outcome as “very disappointing,” Lord Cameron pledged to continue supporting the Conservative Party.

Lord Cameron has also extended congratulations to his Labour counterpart David Lammy for his appointment as foreign secretary.

“In a time when the world is more perilous, more volatile, and more confrontational than many of us have ever experienced, your new role is more crucial than ever,” Lord Cameron expressed.

Shadow Cabinet

Other alterations in Tory leadership include Richard Fuller being appointed as the interim chairman of the party, replacing Richard Holden, who secured victory in the Basildon and Billericay seat by a slim margin of 20 votes.

Mr. Sunak will continue as the party leader until a successor is identified. In his final address as prime minister outside 10 Downing Street, Mr. Sunak declared that he will step down “once formal arrangements for selecting” his replacement are established.

Following Grant Shapps’ and Alex Chalk’s electoral losses, James Cartlidge took over as shadow defence secretary and Ed Argar assumed the role of shadow justice secretary.

Some positions in the Tory leadership have remained unchanged. Jeremy Hunt retained his role and was appointed as shadow chancellor, while James Cleverly maintained his responsibilities for home affairs within the shadow cabinet.

Former Education Secretary Gillian Keegan lost her parliamentary seat to the Liberal Democrats. She was replaced by Damian Hinds. Kemi Badenoch was named the shadow secretary of state for levelling up, housing, and communities.

Lucy Frazer lost her seat in Ely and East Cambridgeshire by a narrow margin of 495 votes, being succeeded by Julia Lopez as the shadow secretary of state for culture, media, and sport.

Chris Philp now serves as the new shadow leader of the House, taking over from Penny Mordaunt, who was once considered a potential leadership contender for the Conservatives. She lost her parliamentary seat in the Portsmouth North constituency to Labour.

Leadership Race

The aftermath of the Tories’ significant defeat has left the party’s direction uncertain.

The emergence of Reform UK, led by Nigel Farage, has been identified as a key factor in swaying the votes of right-wing Tory supporters.

The election setback cost the Conservatives 251 seats, leaving them with 121 MPs.

Conversely, Reform UK secured its first parliamentary presence after winning in five constituencies.

The former home secretary Suella Braverman, a potential Tory leadership candidate, has labeled Reform as an electoral “existential threat” to the Conservatives.

The Tories cannot assume that the tide will turn back in their favor or that all Reform voters will suddenly return, stated former Conservative MP Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg on Tuesday.

“We need to win them over one way or another,” he added.

While Tory centrists aim to prevent the party from leaning too far to the right, this could pose a challenge if a right-leaning individual assumes leadership from Mr. Sunak. Possible candidates with closer right-wing leanings within the Tory political spectrum include former Home Secretary Dame Priti Patel and former Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick.

Mr. Cleverly and former Security Minister Tom Tugendhat are also potential contenders in the leadership race and are largely perceived as centrists.

A potential centrist candidate and two-time former leadership contender, Mr. Hunt, has ruled himself out of the race.

PA Media contributed to this report.

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