Suella Braverman’s past troubles and controversies amid speeding points reports

·4-min read

Suella Braverman is facing allegations that she asked civil servants to help her avoid getting points on her licence for speeding.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is under pressure to launch an investigation into the claims.

During two stints as home secretary, Mrs Braverman has attracted criticism.

Here are some of her controversial moments:

– Speeding points

The Sunday Times reported Mrs Braverman asked Home Office aides to help organise a one-to-one driving awareness course after being caught speeding last summer while attorney general.

Officials refused the request, so the Home Secretary allegedly turned to a political aide to assist her in attempting to arrange an alternative to having to attend a course with other motorists.

The newspaper said multiple requests were made to a speeding awareness course provider by an aide, including asking if the senior Conservative minister could do an online course, but use an alias or have her camera switched off.

Mrs Braverman ultimately chose instead to accept three points on her driving licence.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper was among those demanding an investigation to see whether she breached the ministerial code.

– Email about civil servants

In March, an email sent out to Conservative Party members in Mrs Braverman’s name blamed “an activist blob of left-wing lawyers, civil servants and the Labour Party” for blocking previous attempts to tackle illegal migration.

Cabinet meeting
An email in Mrs Braverman’s name hit out at civil servants (Victoria Jones/PA)

She was accused of potentially breaking ministerial rules by questioning the impartiality of public servants after the publication of the Government’s Illegal Migration Bill.

Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union which represents senior civil servants, said the email amounted to a “direct attack on the integrity and impartiality” of those working in the Home Office.

The Prime Minister’s press secretary told reporters Mrs Braverman “did not see, sign off or sanction” the email, which she said was sent in error.

– Sacking and reappointment

Liz Truss forced Mrs Braverman out as home secretary in October 2022 after she breached the ministerial code by sending an official document to a Tory backbencher from a personal email.

Mrs Braverman, who had been in the role six weeks, said she made a “mistake” which she conceded was a “technical infringement” of the rules.

Six days later, after Ms Truss resigned as prime minister, her successor Mr Sunak reinstated Mrs Braverman.

Rishi Sunak visit to Greater Manchester
Rishi Sunak reinstated Mrs Braverman as Home Secretary (Phil Noble/PA)

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats raised “national security” concerns and demanded a Cabinet Office investigation.

– Outburst against “tofu-eating wokerati”

Just before being sacked, Mrs Braverman accused opposition parties of being a “coalition of chaos” when discussing the Public Order Bill to crack down on disruptive protests.

She told the Commons: “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.”

Ms Cooper said Mrs Braverman’s words were “astonishing”, adding: “The home secretary actually talked about a coalition of chaos – we can see it in front of us as we speak.”

– Rwanda comments

The Home Secretary attracted criticism when talking about migration during a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference in October last year.

Mrs Braverman said she would “love to be here claiming victory, I would love to be having a front page of the Telegraph with a plane taking off to Rwanda, that’s my dream, that’s my obsession”.

She said it would be “amazing” if the first UK flight carrying migrants to the African country could take off by Christmas, but added: “If I’m honest, I think it’s going to take longer.”

– Clashes with Downing Street

On at least two occasions while Ms Truss was prime minister, she expressed views which put her at odds with Government policy.

Ms Braverman said she had “reservations” about relaxing immigration controls as part of any trade deal with India, telling the Spectator magazine she had “concerns about having an open borders migration policy with India because I don’t think that’s what people voted for with Brexit”.

Her comments were reported to have provoked a furious reaction from ministers and officials in New Delhi.

She also faced criticism from a senior Government source for calling on the UK to leave the European Convention on Human Rights, who said: “Her personal views are contrary to Government policy and if she wishes to make those views known within Government she should do so in a more appropriate setting.”