Suella Braverman pushes back at ‘dog whistle’ politics allegation
Rishi Sunak has been urged to launch an investigation into claims that Suella Braverman asked civil servants to help her avoid incurring points on her licence for speeding while attorney general. Home Secretary Ms Braverman allegedly requested that Home Office aides help organise a one-to-one driving awareness course after she was caught speeding last summer as she looked to swerve accepting endorsements.
Civil servants are said to have refused the alleged request, but Mrs Braverman is accused of then turning to a political aide to assist her in attempting to arrange an alternative to having to attend a course with other motorists.
A number of requests were made to a speeding awareness course provider by an aide, reported the Sunday Times, including asking if the senior Conservative minister would be able to undertake an online course, but be allowed to use an alias or have her camera switched off.
Such suggestions are said to have been refused, with Mrs Braverman eventually opting to forgo the course altogether and instead accepting three points on her driving licence.
Labour and the Liberal Democrats are calling for Mrs Braverman to face a probe by the Prime Minister’s adviser on ministerial interests, Sir Laurie Magnus.
Currently, rules require Mr Sunak would to commission his ethics tsar to look into the allegations, which Labour has suggested could breach the ministerial code – a set of rules all ministers must abide by or face sanctions, including potentially being sacked.
A source close to Mrs Braverman said the speeding ticket and subsequent arrangements for dealing with it were reported to the Cabinet Office at the time.
They said the Home Secretary was eager to arrange a course, rather than take the points, as a result of concerns about her insurance premium potentially increasing.
Mrs Braverman is understood to have been issued with a speeding notice by police after being caught driving faster than the speed limit on a road outside London when she was attorney general in the summer of 2022.
She was offered the choice of paying the fine and receiving three points, attending the course in lieu of points and the fine, or challenging the speeding notice.
Mrs Braverman resigned on October 19 last year as home secretary after sharing a sensitive document with a Tory backbencher from a personal email without permission. However, she was reappointed to the post by Mr Sunak just six days later when he entered No 10.
It was at this point that she is alleged to have decided to drop her pursuit of a driving awareness course, instead taking the points.
Labour shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the reports were “shocking”.
She said: “As Home Secretary, Suella Braverman is responsible for upholding the law, yet this report suggests she has tried to abuse her position to get round the normal penalties so it is one rule for her and another for everyone else.
“We’ve had 13 years of the Tories trying to dodge the rules for themselves and their mates.
“Enough is enough. The Home Secretary and the Prime Minister need to both urgently explain what has been going on, including what the Prime Minister knew when he reappointed her.”
She continued: “Rishi Sunak was too weak to deal with her the last time she broke the ministerial code, is he still too weak to take action now?
JUST IN: Boy, 4, killed in crash with mum and her friend named
“The Prime Minister has promised integrity, professionalism and accountability, yet it appears his Home Secretary is blatantly flouting all three.
“We need an urgent investigation into what has gone on here, starting with Laurie Magnus seeing how this is possibly compatible with the ministerial code.”
Alistair Carmichael, the Lib Dems’ home affairs spokesman, said: “Once again for the Government it’s one rule for them and another for the rest of us.
“Suella Braverman should be urgently investigated by the ethics adviser and add her name to the near endless list of ministers who have had to undergo the same.
“Time and time again we are seeing a conveyor belt of Conservative politicians run roughshod over the rules and drag our politics into the gutter.
“Now, the buck stops with Rishi Sunak himself to stop the endless headlines of sleaze and scandal.”
A source close to the Home Secretary said: “Mrs Braverman accepted three points for a speeding offence which took place last summer.
“The Cabinet Office was notified of this as requested by Mrs Braverman. She was not and is not disqualified from driving.”
According to the Government’s website, a motorist can be banned from driving if they have 12 or more penalty points on their licence.
Civil servants, before refusing Mrs Braverman’s request for them to set-up a bespoke driving course arrangement for her, are thought to have contacted the Cabinet Office for advice.
A Cabinet Office spokesman, asked to confirm the report, said: “It would not be appropriate to comment on the existence or content of advice between Government departments.”
A spokesman for the Home Secretary said: “Mrs Braverman accepts that she was speeding last summer and regrets doing so.
“She took the three points and paid the fine last year.”
Source: Read Full Article