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Home secretary Suella Braverman departs as Truss fights to cling on to power

19 Oct 2022 6 minute read
Home Secretary Suella Braverman gives a thumbs up after her speech at the Conservative Party conference. Photo Jacob King PA Images

Liz Truss’s embattled premiership has been rocked by the departure of Suella Braverman as home secretary.

A Home Office source confirmed that Ms Braverman was out after the Prime Minister made a last-minute cancellation of a trip out of Westminster on Wednesday.

Ms Braverman is a figure-head of the right in the party and the exit of a former Tory leadership candidate will create further challenges for Ms Truss as she struggles to maintain her grip on power.

The Guardian, which first reported her departure, said that former transport secretary Grant Shapps, a major backer of Rishi Sunak for the Tory leadership and a critic of Ms Truss, was being lined up to succeed Ms Braverman.

Ms Braverman, a former attorney general, only became home secretary on September 6 when Ms Truss brought her in to replace Priti Patel.

Concerns

In her letter resigning as home secretary, Suella Braverman said she had “concerns about the direction of this government”.

“It is obvious to everyone that we are going through a tumultuous time,” she said.

“I have concerns about the direction of this government. Not only have we broken key pledges that were promised to our voters, but I have had serious concerns about this Government’s commitment to honouring manifesto commitments, such as reducing overall migration numbers and stopping illegal migration, particularly the dangerous small boats crossings.”

She also admitted sending an official document from her personal email.

She said she sent the message to a “trusted parliamentary colleague as part of policy engagement, and with the aim of garnering support for government policy on migration”.

She acknowledged that constituted a “technical infringement of the rules”, the document was a draft written ministerial statement, and while much of it had already been briefed to MPs “nevertheless it is right for me to go”.

She said “the business of government relies upon people accepting responsibility for their mistakes” adding: “Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see  we have made them and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious politics.

“I have made a mistake; I accept responsibility; I resign.”

Controversial

Her tenure as home secretary has been controversial, having accused Tory critics who successfully forced Ms Truss into U-turning over plans to scrap the top rate of income tax of a “coup”.

Mr Shapps was one of the leading voices urging the Prime Minister to backtrack on the widely-criticised plan during the Tory party conference earlier this month.

Ms Braverman, a former attorney general, only became home secretary on September 6 when Ms Truss brought her in to replace Priti Patel.

Her tenure as home secretary has been controversial, having accused Tory critics who forced Ms Truss into U-turning over plans to scrap the top rate of income tax of a “coup”.

Mr Shapps was one of the leading voices urging the Prime Minister to scrap the plan during the Tory party conference earlier this month.

Earlier in the day, Ms Truss insisted she was a “fighter, not a quitter” as more Tory MPs heaped pressure on her to exit No 10.

Public apology

She made a public apology in the Commons as she faced Prime Minister’s Questions for the first time since her economic plan was ditched by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

On Monday, Mr Hunt reversed almost all the tax cuts announced by predecessor Kwasi Kwarteng as he sought to calm financial markets following weeks of turbulence.

The Prime Minister told MPs: “I have been very clear that I am sorry and that I have made mistakes.”

But she added: “The right thing to do in those circumstances is to make changes, which I have made, and to get on with the job and deliver for the British people.”

The Prime Minister is battling to retain her position and has risked a fresh fight with Tory MPs by making a vote on a Labour motion on fracking a test of confidence in her administration.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer mocked Ms Truss, saying: “What’s the point of a Prime Minister whose promises don’t even last a week?”

He added of a book which is being written about her: “Apparently it’s going to be out by Christmas. Is that the release date or the title?”

In other developments, Ms Truss:

– Committed to the triple-lock on pensions, meaning the state pension will increase in line with the 10.1% inflation figure from April, after being threatened with a backbench revolt.

– Declined to give the same guarantee to link increases in benefits to inflation.

– Insisted she backed social care reform following a Times report that plans for a cap on costs was being delayed for a year.

Challenging

Her own MPs posed some of the most challenging questions on issues including fracking, social care, international aid spending and the benefits increase, in a sign that there was little appetite to rally round the beleaguered leader.

But former Cabinet minister Sajid Javid – the subject of a hostile briefing from a No 10 source who described him as “shit” – did not ask a question, despite being listed to do so.

One of the Prime Minister’s senior aides, Jason Stein, has reportedly been suspended pending an investigation by the Cabinet Office propriety and ethics team into the briefing against Mr Javid.

Asked about the report, the Prime Minister’s press secretary said: “I am not going to get into individual staffing matters but the Prime Minister has made very clear to her team that some of the sort of briefings that we have seen are completely unacceptable about parliamentary colleagues and they must stop.”

Ms Truss is attempting to build bridges with Tory MPs, including through “fairly regular” events for backbenchers, No 10 said.

Confidence vote

But there is speculation that the chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady had already received more than 54 letters calling for a confidence vote in the PM, the threshold for triggering one if Ms Truss was not in the 12 months’ grace period for new leaders.

“I wouldn’t get into private conversations,” the Prime Minister’s press secretary said.

“That’s the first I’ve heard.”

Tory MP William Wragg told the Commons he has submitted a letter to Sir Graham.

Mr Wragg, vice chairman of the 1922 Committee, told MPs: “What occurred with that financial statement, I am personally ashamed because I cannot go and face my constituents, look them in the eye and say that they should support our great party, and the polls would seem to bear that out.”

Conservative MP Steve Double warned Ms Truss will likely have to stand down “quite soon”, telling Times Radio that “she is absolutely in the last-chance saloon”.


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Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

All decent minded people will be pleased with this news, but it only confirms further, the utter turmoil and total shambles this Gov is.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Cymru
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Cymru
1 month ago

Cruella, a political rat, abandoned ship for accidentally on purpose breaching parliamentary rules and for the first time in her life, did “an honourable thing”, then to try and save her non-reputation hurled some bile at Lizard Truss.
They are just so repulsive, aren’t they?
The whole Brexiteer fringe. The jig is up and they’re stealing the silverware and fleeing for Brazil, like their heroes did in 1945

notimejeff
notimejeff
1 month ago

We still don’t know what Labour would do about the smuggling of undocumented migrants across the Channel. They should tell us if it comes to an election.

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago
Reply to  notimejeff

I wonder if the Tory’s can tell us now what they are doing about it. Official home office figures show 13 thousand illegals in 2018 has risen to more than 21 thousand in 2021. Can you help out here with an answer.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Hands’ up, whose not bonkers?

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Cymru
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Cymru
1 month ago

So the replacement for Asian Nadine Dorries, is Grant Shapps, or one of his many alter egos. They have been scraping the bottom of the barrel for years now. I think they have finally scraped THROUGH the bottom of the barrel and are now working their way through the cow-poo underneath it.

Last edited 1 month ago by Y Tywysog Lloegr a Cymru

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