Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, has asserted that ‘nothing untoward’ took place in how she dealt with a speeding offence.
However, she has faced criticism following reports that surfaced, indicating that she had requested officials to explore the possibility of arranging a private speed awareness course instead of receiving penalty points on her driving license. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been in discussions with his ethics adviser regarding this matter, although a final decision on whether to initiate a formal investigation has not yet been made.
While addressing the issue publicly for the first time, Mrs. Braverman did not explicitly deny asking civil servants to intervene.
When questioned about whether she had requested officials to organise a one-to-one course for her, she responded: “Last summer, I was speeding. I regret that. I paid the fine and I took the points but we’re focused now on delivering for the British people and working for them.”
When pressed on the same question, she said: “In relation to the process, I’m focused on delivering for the British people, doing my job as Home Secretary and what I will say is that, in my view, I’m confident that nothing untoward has happened.”
Last year, during her tenure as attorney general, Suella Braverman was involved in a speeding offence, which has now become a subject of contention. The controversy emerged following a report in the Sunday Times, alleging that Braverman had sought assistance from Home Office civil servants to arrange a one-on-one driving awareness course, deviating from the standard group session offered to motorists for minor speeding offences.
According to reports, the request was denied by officials, prompting Braverman to allegedly seek the aid of a political aide in her efforts to explore an alternative option that did not involve participating alongside the general public.
Following his return from the G7 summit, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak engaged in discussions with his ethics adviser, Sir Laurie Magnus, regarding Braverman’s situation. Downing Street confirmed that Sunak was “availing himself of information”.
A spokesperson from Number 10 emphasised that the Prime Minister continues to have confidence in Braverman’s role as Home Secretary. “He and the Home Secretary continue to work closely on the public’s priorities, not least tackling illegal immigration.”
If Suella Braverman is found to have violated the ministerial code, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer asserted that she should resign. Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, he stated, “I don’t know all the facts, but it appears to me that the Home Secretary’s actions were inappropriate and should be investigated.”
While he expressed caution in prematurely calling for Braverman’s resignation, Sir Keir emphasised, “I think if she’s breached the ministerial code she should go … in the end, it’s the ministerial code that matters.”
Dave Penman, the general secretary of the FDA union, which represents senior officials, conveyed his views during an interview on Sky News. He emphasised that, “Civil servants are publicly-funded. They’re paid for by you and me. They’re not there to support the personal interests of a minister. They don’t do their shopping, they don’t look after their children and they don’t sort out their speeding fine.”