22 May 2023

Braverman – favourite of the Tory right in the spotlight once again

22 May 2023

Suella Braverman is once again under fire from critics and opposition parties, amid questions over whether the Home Secretary breached the ministerial code by asking civil servants to arrange a private speed awareness course for her.

The row is another headache for the Prime Minister. But it is not the first time Mrs Braverman has found herself at the centre of a political storm.

Her return to the Home Office, following the resignation of Liz Truss, was one of the first major controversies Rishi Sunak faced in No 10.

Mrs Braverman had initially lasted just six weeks as home secretary, quitting after she breached the ministerial code by sending an official document to a Tory backbencher from a personal email.

Her dramatic exit in the dying days of the Truss administration was followed by a rapid return to the front bench under Mr Sunak, where she has resumed her mission to crack down on migrants crossing the Channel.

The swift turnaround prompted anger and criticism from opposition parties, but Mrs Braverman clung on and has continued to establish herself as a favourite among the Conservative grassroots.

The barrister rose rapidly through the Tory ranks to one of the most senior government offices, having previously said the courts should stay out of politics and criticising the Civil Service for being too “woke”.

She was the first person to launch a bid to become the new prime minister after Boris Johnson’s departure, but was knocked out of the race and decided to back Ms Truss.

She had been made the Government’s most senior lawyer in February 2020, taking the role of attorney general amid Boris Johnson’s growing battle with the judiciary.

During this time she became the first cabinet-level minister to take maternity leave after special legislation had to be passed by Parliament to allow her to take time away from her ministerial duties.

The 42-year-old – the MP for Fareham in Hampshire since 2015 – studied law at the University of Cambridge before gaining a masters at the Sorbonne in Paris.

She also qualified as an attorney in New York and was called to the bar in Britain in 2005, specialising in public law and judicial review.

As a barrister she has defended the Home Office in immigration cases, the Parole Board in challenges from prisoners, and the Ministry of Defence over injuries sustained in battle.

As Home Secretary, she has continued to attract attention for provocative statements.

Her initial stint at the Home Office saw her launch attacks on “tofu-eating wokerati”, while last year she faced criticism for claiming there was an “invasion” of England by migrants crossing the Channel.

But her tough stance on migration has endeared her to the right-wing of the Conservative Party.

At the Conservative Party conference last year Mrs Braverman told a fringe event 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”.

During her tenure, ministers have backed the Illegal Migration Bill as the solution to “stopping the boats”, with the proposed legislation designed to ensure that people arriving in the UK without permission will be detained and swiftly removed, either to their home country or a third nation such as Rwanda.

She has also not been shy about pushing her party to focus on reducing overall immigration, only last week urging the Tories to recommit to the 2019 manifesto commitment that promised “fewer lower-skilled migrants and overall numbers will come down”.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox