Body language expert on how Rishi Sunak is being upstaged by David Cameron

A body language expert has explained how Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is being upstaged by Foreign Secretary and former Prime Minister David Cameron.

Judi James explained how Lord Cameron’s surprise appointment will impact the dynamic between himself and Mr Sunak.

She explained that Lord Cameron’s significant height advantage over Mr Sunak will have a major impact.

However, Ms James said that all is not lost for Mr Sunak as she drew parallels with Margaret Thatcher and President Emmanuel Macron who use gestures and positioning.

Ms James added that there was another factor that would hurt Mr Sunak’s comparison with his experienced colleague.

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Speaking to Paddy Power Games, Ms James said: “When you bring an experienced ex-PM back into your cabinet you need to be confident that your own leadership charisma is profound enough for you to command the room and to dominate with your presence.

“You also need to be aware of all the many body language tricks and techniques that political leaders do to make them look like the one in control when the cameras are recording every moment.

“Cameron’s height gives him a natural visual advantage as research suggests people tend to expect a world leader to be tall, but as Macron and Margaret Thatcher knew, positioning and gesticulation can always compensate for a lack of physical stature.”

She added: “Rishi’s natural leadership presence is not strong. His body language is high on amiability and deference but low on status and authority signals.

“By bringing in Cameron he brought back a man high in both and it shows.”

Ms James added that Mr Sunak’s team had also done the current Prime Minister a disservice.

She said: “So far Rishi and his comms team have made some grave schoolboy errors that have allowed Cameron to look as though he is returning in a leadership role rather than someone there to help shore up and support.”

When Lord Cameron returned to politics more than seven years after he resigned as Prime Minister following the Brexit Referendum, there were questions over whether it would change the UK’s relationship with China.

Mr Sunak has recently given reassurances that this will not happen at a meeting with business leaders at Hampton Court Palace.

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Mr Sunak said: “If David Cameron were here, he would say the China of today is not the China he dealt with a decade ago.”

“It has changed, it’s right that our strategy evolves to take account of that. Our strategy can be summarised in three approaches: it’s to protect, align and engage. We have got to protect the UK against the risks, where they manifest themselves.”

He added that the UK would “align” with allies including Japan, the USA, and Australia and that Lord Cameron’s “relationships and experience at such a tricky time is enormously valuable”.

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