David Cameron steps back from frontline politics after election defeat – but keeps Lords seat for life

David Cameron has stepped back from frontline politics after last week’s election defeat but will keep his House of Lords seat for life.

He was given a peerage last November so that Rishi Sunak could make him his foreign secretary. But the former PM has tendered his resignation and will not serve in the shadow cabinet now that the party is out of government.

Also quitting is party chair Richard Holden, who has been blamed by many for the depth of his party’s defeat.

He has faced accusations that he “stitched up” a safe seat for himself when he should have been saving other MPs – a charge he denies.

The Independent has been told that Tory MPs started texting Mr Holden at 4am on Friday morning asking why he had yet to tender his resignation.

Former foreign secretary David Cameron has tendered his resignation (PA Wire)
Former foreign secretary David Cameron has tendered his resignation (PA Wire)

Rishi Sunak will remain the leader of the Conservatives’ interim shadow cabinet until his replacement is appointed.

He stepped down last week in the wake of the election result.

The party has named Jeremy Hunt, who narrowly held his seat on Thursday, its shadow chancellor, with James Cleverly given the shadow home secretary role, mirroring the portfolios they held in government.

Former deputy foreign secretary Andrew Mitchell will become the shadow foreign secretary, while Richard Fuller, the former economic secretary to the Treasury, has been made the new chair of the Conservative Party.

Leadership frontrunner Kemi Badenoch has been shifted to the role of shadow levelling-up secretary, while Kevin Hollinrake will shadow her former business secretary post.

During the campaign, Mr Hollinrake said there was “no doubt” that exporting to the EU had been made more difficult by Brexit.

Remarkably, when asked about Mr Hollinrake’s comments, Mr Sunak agreed, saying: “Of course, when you leave the single market and the customs union, that is going to change our trading relationships.”

Richard Holden has been blamed by many for the depth of his party’s defeat (Sky News)
Richard Holden has been blamed by many for the depth of his party’s defeat (Sky News)

Mr Fuller said in a statement: “The Conservative Party has had a difficult election, and it is important that we regroup and reflect on these results. We should also challenge ourselves candidly and deeply on the strengths of the Conservative Party across the country, and outline where improvements can be made.

“I am honoured to be asked to act as interim chairman of the Conservative Party, and to be working alongside colleagues in the shadow cabinet.

“United as a party, we will be ready and able to hold this new Labour government to account every step of the way.”

The Tories won just 121 seats last Thursday, their worst result in the party’s 190-year history, as millions of their voters switched to Labour, the Lib Dems or Nigel Farage’s Reform, or did not vote at all.

On Monday, Mr Hollinrake suggested that a leadership race could drag on until the end of the year, adding: “I don’t think there is any rush”.