UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that Suella Braverman’s speeding episode didn’t breach the ministerial code and thus no further enquiry was required over the matter.
Sunak, after having discussions with his ethics adviser, decided that a further investigation was not necessary. In a letter sent to Braverman after talking to his ethics adviser Sir Laurie Magnus, Sunak wrote, “These matters do not amount to a breach of the ministerial code.”
Sunak acknowledged while steps may have been taken to prevent “the perception of impropriety,” he was nonetheless reassured by Braverman’s expression of regret and the fact that she took the matter seriously.
In earlier letters sent to Sunak, Braverman had written that she regretted speeding but also insisted that “at no point did I try to avoid sanction”. She wrote, “My actions were always directed toward finding an appropriate way to participate in the speed awareness course, taking into account my new role as home secretary and the necessary security and privacy issues that this raised.”
The involvement of civil servants in a personal matter could be seen as a breach of the ministerial code. This code states that ministers must ensure that no conflict arises between their public duties and private interests.
Given Braverman’s role as Home Secretary, responsible for law enforcement, the clash between her public role and private actions may appear even more significant. The ministerial code also incorporates the seven “Nolan Principles,” including selflessness and integrity, which could potentially be compromised by her actions.
Braverman has a history of ethics breaches. Last October, she resigned as Home Secretary in Liz Truss’s government after admitting to emailing a confidential document from her personal email address to another MP. With Truss’s leadership under pressure at the time, Braverman’s resignation letter criticised the Prime Minister, stating, “pretending we haven’t made mistakes… is not serious politics.”
Surprisingly, she was reappointed to the same post by Sunak just a week later, a move seen as an attempt to strengthen support from right-wing Tories.
(With inputs from agencies)