27 October 2022

Sacked Suella Braverman deserves ‘second chance’ as Home Secretary, says Tory chairman

27 October 2022

Suella Braverman deserves a “second chance” as Home Secretary, a senior minister has argued as Rishi Sunak faces a growing backlash over her reappointment.

Conservative Party chairman Nadhim Zahawi said the Prime Minister was right to give her a shot at “redemption” six days after she was forced out by Liz Truss over a security breach.

Mr Sunak’s attempt to unite the Tories is under strain, with Mr Zahawi’s predecessor, Sir Jake Berry, alleging “multiple breaches” of the Ministerial Code.

An allegation of Ms Braverman having been investigated by Government officials after the leaking of a story involving the security services also emerged.

Mr Sunak brought her back into the Cabinet despite her resignation after she was caught sending a Tory backbencher a sensitive document from a personal email account.

Mr Zahawi defended her reappointment, arguing that she admitted the “mistake” and resigned “immediately”, a characterisation disputed by officials.

“She fell on her sword, she didn’t try to ride it out and try to hang on to her job,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“This Prime Minister looked at the details of this case and he believes in second chances and he’s giving Suella Braverman a second chance. I believe in redemption, as I’m sure many of your listeners would do as well.”

Allies of the minister dubbed “Leaky Sue” insisted a suggestion that MI5 will give her lessons on what information she can and cannot share to prevent another breach was “nonsense”.

Meanwhile, the Mail reported that she had been investigated by a unit within the Cabinet Office over a leak about the Government’s plan to seek an injunction against the BBC.

The newspaper said no “conclusive evidence” of the identity of the leaker behind a story about plans to bar the identification of a spy accused of terrorising his ex-partner was found.

But it said MI5 played a role in the inquiry after the leak at the time Ms Braverman was attorney general sparked “concern” in the Security Service.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, who has demanded an official inquiry into Ms Braverman, said: “These are extremely serious allegations.

“There needs to be an urgent investigation into the Home Secretary’s security breaches, including these new allegations while she was attorney general.

“The Prime Minister needs to say whether he knew about these allegations when he re-appointed her. Ignoring warnings about security risks when appointing a Home Secretary is highly irresponsible and dangerous.”

Mr Sunak is tearing up the remnants of Ms Truss’s shortest-ever premiership, reimposing the fracking ban in England and scrapping her growth plan on his first full day in office.

He demoted her allies, Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Chris Philp, from positions around the Cabinet table to more junior ministerial roles.

Mr Sunak is also no longer committing the Government to the triple lock on state pensions ahead of the autumn Budget, which he has delayed from Halloween to November 17.

Failing to increase payments in line with inflation at more than 10% in April would deliver real-terms cuts to millions of pensioners.

Mr Zahawi insisted the Prime Minister has “always protected the most vulnerable”.

He told Times Radio: “I am stating the obvious here, but uniquely pensioners cannot add to their income by taking on more work and therefore we have to be clear in how we make sure we help the most vulnerable in our society, including those pensioners, but I won’t pre-empt the autumn statement.”

Mr Sunak has also not committed to increasing welfare payments in line with inflation, or to Ms Truss’s pledge of increasing defence spending to 3% of GDP by 2030.

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