Pressure mounts on Rishi Sunak over reappointment of Suella Braverman

Backlash grows over the prime minister’s decision to reinstall Braverman as home secretary just six days after she was forced out for a security breach.

Braverman

The government is facing growing pressure to publish its assessment of Suella Braverman’s security breach.

The home secretary was sacked by Liz Truss for a security blunder which breached the ministerial code, only to be reappointed in the same position six days later by Rishi Sunak.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have raised concerns about national security and have called for a cabinet office investigation. The opposition is said to be pushing for the government to share risk assessments of the breach, as well as information provided to the prime minister before he reinstated her as home secretary.

Rishi Sunak has resisted calls to launch an inquiry into the home secretary’s breach of ministerial code in which she shared a sensitive document with a Tory backbencher from a personal email account without permission.

Gove describes Braverman as a ‘first-rate’ politician

Cabinet minister Michael Gove, who made a return to cabinet last week as levelling up secretary, has rejected calls for the government to publish documents on the security breach. Insisting that he is “more than satisfied” with the reappointment, Gove said Braverman is a “first-rate, front-rank politician.”

“When we publish everything, we also potentially publish information that can compromise the effective operation, not just of government, but of national security itself,” he told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme.

When asked if Braverman is a politician of integrity, Gove said:

“Absolutely.

“I am satisfied, more than satisfied, that in resigning, accepting responsibility, apologising, and then in being assured by the cabinet secretary and the prime minister that Suella coming back into office was the right thing, that Suella is now in a position to do the work that she is dedicated to doing.”

He added that his cabinet colleague “deserves a second chance.”

‘Leaky Sue’

The under-fire home secretary – dubbed ‘Leaky Sue’ – is reported to have been previously investigated by government officials after the leaking of a story involving security forces. The Daily Mail reported that MI5 had played a role in the inquiry following a leak when Suella Braverman was attorney general which had sparked ‘concern’ in the security service.

Braverman is also being criticised over allegations that she ignored advice that migrants were being detained at an asylum processing centre in Kent unlawfully for long periods. The Sunday Times reported that Braverman had failed to act on warning that some asylum seekers were being held at the detention centre, which is meant to be a short-term holding facility, for weeks and urgently needed to be rehoused.

The home office has dismissed the claims as “completely baseless.”

Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary, said Braverman should not have been brought back into government so soon after being fired and the controversy shows she cannot be trusted.

Talking to Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, Cooper said: “You can’t have a home secretary who is not trusted by the security service, who is not trusted with important government information.”

“We think that the papers and the warnings that were provided by the cabinet office and by the cabinet secretary to the prime minister should be sent to the Intelligence and Security Committee.

“So far, we’ve been asking repeatedly whether the home secretary has used her personal phone to send other government documents.

“There’s also questions about whether she was investigated for other security leaks, including a case involving security service, and a case involving sensitive legal advice around Northern Ireland.

“And it really shows the huge error of judgment that Rishi Sunak has made in reappointing someone just six days after she broke the ministerial code over security lapses, reappointing her to this immensely serious position,” said Cooper.

The Braverman breach scandal comes as reports emerge that Russia had tried to hack Liz Truss’s phone when she was foreign secretary.

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

Image credit: UK Parliament: Creative Commons

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