Suella Braverman to remain in post as Rishi Sunak rules out ministerial code probe
Suella Braverman will keep her post as home secretary and there will be no formal investigation into her conversations with civil servants about a speeding fine after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak concluded she had not breached the ministerial code.
Downing Street confirmed that Sunak has decided that she will keep her position in the cabinet and that Sir Laurie Magnus, the prime minister’s independent adviser on ministerial interests, will not launch an investigation into what happened.
Braverman was caught driving over the speed limit outside of London last year, and according to the Sunday Times, asked civil servants to arrange a private driving awareness course in order to avoid getting points on her licence and having to attend a class in public.
Her requests were reportedly refused, so she opted to pay a fine and take three points on her licence.
In a letter to the home secretary on Wednesday, Sunak said he had consulted with his independent adviser and had concluded the incident was not a breach of the ministerial code.
"He has advised that on this occasion further investigation is not necessary and I have accepted that advice," Sunak wrote.
"As you have recognised, a better course of action could have been taken to avoid giving rise to the perception of impropriety.
"Nevertheless, I am reassured you take these matters seriously. You have provided a thorough account, apologised and expressed regret."
The prime minister reiterated that he believes "integrity, professionalism and accountability" were core values of his government.
Braverman had written to Sunak to explain what had taken place, promising that she had been "truthful and transparent" at all times.
"My actions were always directed toward finding an appropriate way to participate in the speed awareness course, taking into account my new role as home secretary and the necessary security and privacy issues that this raised," she wrote.
"My interactions with officials intended to provide appropriate clarification of the options available to me in my role as home secretary."
She did, however, admit in the letter that "in hindsight, or if faced with a similar situation again, I would have chosen a different course of action".
Speaking in the Commons on Monday, the home secretary said she "regretted" the speeding fine, but insisted she paid the fine and accepted the points deduction, and made no attempt to avoid doing so.
Asked about the allegations against Braverman at the G7 Summit in Japan over the weekend, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak claimed he had not spoken to Braverman yet, but added: “I understand she has expressed regret for speeding, accepted the penalty and paid the fine.”
A No 10 spokesperson had said that the prime minister had “full confidence” in Braverman as home secretary.
On Monday, Angela Rayner, Labour's Deputy Leader and Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, called for Sunak to order an inquiry into the home secretary's conduct.
“The Prime Minister must order an ethics investigation to get to the bottom of this. We’ve had 13 years of the Tories defending themselves and their mates. Enough is enough," she said.
Braverman is facing other allegations of ministerial code breaches regarding a failure to formally disclose having worked with members of the Rwandan government as the co-founder of a charity in the African country, an investigation by the Independent revealed.
She formed a charity which trained Rwandan government lawyers between 2010 and 2015, with several of these lawyers now involved in the deal with the UK government to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.
The home secretary has also faced criticism from some Conservative colleagues after attending and speaking at the National Conservatism Conference, where she said there was "no reason" why more Brits couldn't do seasonal jobs like fruit picking and said the UK was at risk of forgetting "how to do things for ourselves".
Some Conservative MPs accused her of not following the government line on migration and exposing in-fighting in the party.
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