This article appears as part of the Unspun: Scottish Politics newsletter.

Rishi Sunak's reshuffle came as no surprise when it finally got underway with Suella Braverman's sacking.

The home secretary dismissal though yesterday morning was quickly overshadowed by the unforeseen return of David Cameron to frontline politics with his appointment as foreign secretary, one of the big offices of state, via a seat in the House of Lords.

His exit from Number 10 in 2016 followed his government's defeat in the EU referendum.

Now six years later and with the UK still grappling with the disruption the leave result caused, many take a dim view of his wisdom in calling that vote in the first place.

Sunak's changes – which also included making James Cleverly home secretary and putting Victoria Atkins in charge of health – were all designed to steady his party, move it more to the centre ground and prepare it for the General Election expected next year.

But will the reshuffle make any difference to the outcome on polling day? Pollsters Unspun spoke to think not.

Sir John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University and senior research fellow at the National Centre for Social Research, said the shake-up in the Prime Minister's top team will not have any effect.

"It wouldn't make any difference," Sir John told us, pointing out the Tories are running 20 points behind Labour in the polls and have done so for several months.

"David Cameron is not especially unpopular but he's not particularly popular either and certainly his arrival back into office has divided Conservative supporters.

"The second if I really wanted to bring someone back into government in order to boost my chances in the domestic political debate, apart from chief whip, the role of foreign secretary, is probably the last post to which I would appoint them.

"The foreign secretary is out of the country quite a lot, and much foreign policy – and this is certainly true at the moment – is pursued on a bipartisan basis. It's not central to the political debate between the parties. At the moment the Conservatives and Labour are on the same page on Ukraine and on the Middle East."

The Herald: Polling expert Sir John Curtice believes former prime minister David Cameron's return to frontline politics won't 'make any difference'Polling expert Sir John Curtice believes former prime minister David Cameron's return to frontline politics won't 'make any difference' (Image: Newsquest)
Sir John said that to get back on the front foot the Conservatives would need to turn around the economy and the health service (both tough long term challenges) while also "escaping the ghost" of Boris Johnson.

"Probably the most significant appointment yesterday was not David Cameron but Victoria Atkins," he added.

Fellow pollster Chris Hopkins, director at Savanta, made the same assessment as Sir John, again underlining the significant lead Labour has over the Conservatives in the race for Number 10.

A survey his company carried out at the weekend, just before the reshuffle, put Sir Keir Starmer's party 18 percentage points ahead of Sunak's Tories with the former netting the support of 46% of voters compared to 28% for the latter. Such a result would return a majority Labour government.

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Could the reshuffle narrow the difference significantly? Mr Hopkins was doubtful. He even raised the possibility that Ms Braverman's sacking could lead to more trouble for the party depending on how she acts as a backbencher.

Ms Braverman's incendiary letter to the PM tonight is a strong indication she's not about to settle into a quiet life as a loyal backbench MP. She accused the PM of "betrayal" over a promise to stop small boat crossings, of having "manifestly and repeatedly failed to deliver" on key policies, and for good measure added his "distinctive style of government means you are incapable of doing so".

Mr Hopkins said: "Our data tended to pick up that Suella Braverman was increasingly unpopular with the general public though increasingly popular among Conservative voters.

"And there is a danger for Rishi Sunak that she has the potential to create problems for him on the backbenches."

Like Sir John, Mr Hopkins did not believe as foreign secretary Lord Cameron would have much of an impact on policy ahead of a general election.

"He's a safe pair of hands, but he's not particularly popular among the general public or fondly remembered," he said.

"What perhaps has been underplayed [in the commentary so far] is James Cleverly's move to the Home Office, that does seem like a good general election campaign move. Cleverly does well on telly and won't be creating as many negative headlines as his predecessor.

"But he might not be as popular among the Conservative base. The Conservatives need to go after voters who aren't their base and James Cleverly is more likely to be able to do that than Suella Braverman.

"Who the home secretary is is not going to affect the economy, it is not going to put more money in people's pockets though it could make some difference in a short campaign."

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But he added that any slight uptick in Tory fortunes under a new home secretary could be undone if Ms Braverman continues to be hugely disruptive.

Mr Hopkins said: "If Suella Braverman whips up storms and dramas on the backbenches, the Conservatives look divided and she tries to make them divided then that is not going to help them."

It would seem Ms Braverman's conduct may not change the outcome of the next general election, but it could well help shape the scale of the Tories' defeat.