One of the most vicious right-wingers in Rishi Sunak’s new Cabinet may find her tenure cut short before she’s had a chance to start – because of her own decisions.
Suella Braverman only quit the role of Home Secretary last week – most probably in order to attack Liz Truss in her resignation letter – but was re-appointed to the job by new prime minister Rishi Sunak yesterday.
The pretext for her resignation was a breach of the ministerial code in which she was said to have sent classified documents from her personal email.
Now this has come back to haunt her, because Labour has joined the Liberal Democrats in demanding an inquiry into whether she is an ongoing security risk and her appointment makes a mockery of Sunak’s claim to be putting “integrity and accountability” back into government.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper criticised the appointment yesterday (October 25), accusing Sunak of putting “party before country” and tweeting, “Security is too important for this irresponsible Tory chaos.”
She expanded on this in a letter to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, calling for an urgent probe into “this and other possible security breaches”.
She added that “the public has a right to know that there are proper secure information procedures in place to cover the person who has been given charge of our national security”.
In her resignation letter last week, Braverman acknowledged the mistake, calling it a “technical infringement” and adding that much of the content in the document she emailed had already been briefed to MPs.
The claim to be putting “party before country” is justified because Braverman is from the extreme right wing of the Conservative Party. Not a natural Sunak supporter, she only announced she was backing him late on Sunday, when it became clear that Boris Johnson would not be standing as a candidate in the Tory leadership contest.
Her appointment is therefore seen as an attempt by Sunak to win support from all wings of his party. It also trumpets an intention to take a hard line on immigration by reappointing the minister who previously said it was her “dream” to see Rwanda deportation flights take off, and expressed a desire to act tough on small refugee boats crossing the English Channel.
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said: “Suella Braverman’s appointment makes a mockery of Rishi Sunak’s claims to be bringing integrity to Number 10.
“There must be a full independent inquiry by the Cabinet Office into her appointment, including any promises Sunak made to her behind closed doors.”
He said Braverman should be sacked if it is confirmed that she “repeatedly broke the ministerial code and threatened national security”.
Her reappointment has also sparked outrage among the commentatorati, including the following from Russell Kane, which I recommend you don’t watch if you are offended by extremely strong language:
Alternatively, try this from Professor Tim Wilson who attacks Braverman’s politics, comparing Suella Braverman’s dream of “misery, contempt and insanity” with Martin Luther King’s dream of “optimism”:
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, insisted Braverman had shown integrity by apologising for breaking the rules. He said Sunak had accepted her apology and chose to re-appoint her because she had “very, very recent” experience of the Home Office.
“Clearly the PM wants to make sure that the department can deliver from day one.”
But he didn’t sound very convincing.
It is hard to defend a minister whose brief is to focus on crime when she only admitted committing one herself – last week. Let’s look forward to watching Sunak make a stab at it in Prime Minister’s Questions.
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