'Tory Chaos': Back as Home Sec, Suella Braverman Is PM Sunak's First Scandal

Just six days after she quit the Liz Truss Cabinet, Braverman was re-appointed as home secretary by Rishi Sunak.

5 min read
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Suella Braverman is back in the news and in the British government, and giving Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's cub government its first scandal.

Just six days after she resigned from the now-dissolved Liz Truss Cabinet (given the latter's resignation), the Indian-origin Braverman was reappointed as home secretary on 25 October by Sunak, who officially became prime minister after meeting King Charles earlier on the same day.

The circumstances surrounding Braverman's resignation and her reappointment by Sunak have already given the opposition Labour Party ammunition to attack the prime minister, who has promised "integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level" of his government.

While a detailed profile of the home secretary can be found here, we look at the last 50 days of Suella Braverman's career in British politics, which have been tumultuous, to say the least.


Braverman in the Truss Cabinet

Braverman was appointed as home secretary on 6 September by Liz Truss. Her short tenure was characterised by hardline stances and provocative statements.

She started off her stint by reportedly telling officials under her that she wanted to ban all small boats consisting of migrants from crossing the English Channel. Braverman even revived a previous pledge of the Conservative Party (from the days of David Cameron) to reduce net migration by thousands. Previous Tory governments have failed to achieve the same for nine years now.

Her bill, designed to initiate a "blanket ban" on anyone who illegally enters the country to claim refuge, was even criticised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who stated that such a law would "almost certainly" breach the refugee convention.

Another moment from her clamorous tenure that stood out was when she criticised a deal that the UK had made with India, signed by her predecessor Priti Patel, which would allow increased immigration to the UK (especially for students). Braverman, however, an immigrant herself, said that Indian migrants make up the largest number of visa overstayers in the UK and that the agreement "has not necessarily worked very well."

On immigration, she even went on to say that she would love to see a front page of The Daily Telegraph (one of the country's most circulated newspapers) reporting on the UK government sending asylum seekers to Rwanda under the UK-Rwanda Plan. Braverman even described it as her "dream" and "obsession."

Unfortunately for her, exactly 10 days later, she resigned. And just one day before her resignation, she launched into an extraordinary rant against anti-fossil fuel protesters, calling them the "Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokerati."

"I'm afraid it’s the Labour Party, it’s the Lib Dems, it’s the coalition of chaos, it’s the Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokerati, dare I say, the anti-growth coalition that we have to thank for the disruption that we are seeing on our roads today."
Suella Braverman

The Resignation

When Braverman resigned, her letter stated that she was quitting because she sent an official government document from her personal email address to a fellow parliamentarian, which is a serious violation of the rules.

"Earlier today, I sent an official document from my personal email to a trusted parliamentary colleague as part of policy engagement, and with the aim of garnering support for government policy on migration. This constitutes a technical infringement of the rules," she said.

The Guardian, however, reported that she was sacked or was forced to resign by Prime Minister Truss.

Braverman's letter then went on to slam the Truss government.

"I have concerns about the direction of this government. Not only have we broken key pledges that were promised to our voters, but I have had serious concerns about this Government's commitment to honoring manifesto commitments, such as reducing overall migration numbers and stopping illegal migration, particularly the dangerous small boats crossings."
Suella Braverman in her resignation letter to Truss

Braverman, by the way, had strongly backed Truss in her leadership contest against Rishi Sunak for the Conservative Party and the prime ministerial post.

Braverman was replaced by Grant Shapps, the former transport secretary who had supported Sunak in the Conservative leadership race. And then, six days later, Braverman came back.


Braverman Returns

Downing Street, on 25 October, announced Suella Braverman’s reappointment as the home secretary, not even a week after her resignation.

Quote tweeting Downing Street's tweet, Braverman wrote, "I am honoured to be appointed by the prime minister to serve as Home Secretary. We will work hard to control our borders, maintain our security, and keep our streets safe."

It is important to note that after quitting the Truss government, she had publicly backed Sunak for the top job.


'Cynical Maneuvering': Labour Party Reacts 

The opposition Labour Party has come out with all guns blazing. Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper lashed out at the new prime minister, reminding him why Braverman was forced to resign in the first place.

"He has just appointed Suella Braverman to be home secretary again a week after she resigned for breaches of the ministerial code, security lapses, sending sensitive government information through unauthorised personal channels, and following weeks of nonstop public disagreements with other cabinet ministers."
Labour MP Yvette Cooper to The Guardian

"At noon Rishi Sunak promised “integrity, professionalism and accountability.” At 5 pm, he made Suella Braverman Home Secretary, one week after she resigned for Ministerial Code breach/security lapse," she said in a tweet.

"He put party before country. Security is too important for this irresponsible Tory chaos," she further said.

"Appointing Suella Braverman as Home secretary just days after she was sacked for a security breach doesn't smack of integrity, competence, professionalism or sensible politics. It's just cynical maneuvering. This PM's no better than the last two," tweeted Labour MP Chris Bryant.

Additionally, Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, and member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion since 2010, mocked Sunak by sarcastically tweeting:

Rishi Sunak at lunchtime: "This government will have integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level."

Rishi Sunak in afternoon: *re-appoints Suella Braverman as Home Sec, after breaching official ministerial rules & "dreaming" of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda*


Sunak Defends Braverman at PMQs

At Prime Minister Sunak's first PMQs (Prime Minister's Questions) session on Wednesday, Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer asked Sunak if Braverman was correct to resign last week for her breach of security.

"Was his home secretary right to resign last week for a breach of security?"

The prime minister replied:

"The home secretary made an error of judgement but she recognised that she raised the matter and she accepted her mistake."

The home secretary will be focused on "cracking down on criminals, on defending our borders," he added.

A few hours before the prime minister's defence, Sky News journalist Beth Rigby tweeted that her sources have been indicating that Braverman's reappointment was an extremely risky move.

"A view I've picked up inside and outside No 10 was that Braverman appointment was a mistake in an otherwise smooth start. One former No 10 staffer texted me last night: 'Suella appointment will be a total disaster'," her tweet read.

Whether or not Braverman's appointment costs Sunak politically is something that only time will tell. Until then, we can expect the Labour Party and Keir Starmer to make the Tories feel the heat over this.

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