Once again, for Tories, “sorry” seems to be the hardest word.
An email in Suella Braverman’s name, sent by Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) to party members, said the following:
“We tried to stop the small boats crossings without changing our laws.
“But an activist blob of left wing lawyers, civil servants and the Labour Party blocked us.”
See for yourself. I’m using an image posted by a journalist on Twitter because it clearly shows Braverman’s name:
The message has been savaged by Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA Union, which represents civil servants.
He stated in a letter to prime minister Rishi Sunak that it was “a direct attack on the integrity and impartiality of the thousands of civil servants who loyally serve the home secretary, doing some of the most complex and difficult work in government”.
Penman also said Braverman may have broken the ministerial code, which says ministers must “uphold the impartiality of the civil service”. Here’s the relevant part:
Braverman was challenged over this scandal by Robert Peston on his ITV show – and denied having anything to do with the email. Take note of Clare Hepworth’s comment prefacing the video below:
Word to the wise Home Secretary.
In a moment of generosity I'll share this with you.
Always better to own up & take the consequences – which would probably be less punishing – than denial & being found out further down the line. https://t.co/3PemaQ0lZd
— Clare Hepworth OBE (@Hepworthclare) March 9, 2023
But it was sent out in Braverman’s name. From This Writer’s point of view, it is inconceivable that any government minister – or anyone at all – would allow a message to be sent out (in this case to many people at once) without having seen it or approved its contents.
So I think Ms Hepworth may be right that we may discover something different, some time in the future.
Mr Penman had already stated that, whether or not Braverman had approved the message that went out in her name, she should apologise for it:
As Home Secretary, Suella Braverman leads thousands of civil servants who she has now effectively accused of blocking govt policy. As I told @mrjamesob, whether or not she approved the message that went out in her name, she must immediately withdraw the remarks and apologise pic.twitter.com/ESJiE8GjWN
— Dave Penman (@FDAGenSec) March 8, 2023
As you have seen in the Peston video, above, Braverman has not apologised.
I wonder what the other members of the “activist blob” – the “left wing” lawyers and the Labour Party – have to say about the way they were mentioned. I would certainly expect Keir Starmer to object at Labour being described as “left wing”.
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