Home secretary Suella Braverman will not face an ethics investigation into her handling of a speeding ticket she received last summer. Prime minister Rishi Sunak said he had consulted an ethics advisor, and concluded that the allegations “do not amount to a breach of the ministerial code”.
Braverman faced calls for investigation after asking civil servants to set up a one-to-one driving awareness course, instead of taking penalty points on her license. Opposition politicians claimed she may have breached the ministerial code of conduct by requesting non-political civil servants to help deal with a private matter.
Braverman released a statement saying:
I sought to explore whether bespoke arrangements were possible, given my personal circumstances as a security-protected minister. I recognise how some people have construed this as me seeking to avoid sanction – at no point was that the intention or outcome.
I deeply regret that my actions may have given rise to that perception, and I apologise for the distraction this has caused.
Meanwhile, Sunak added that:
a better course of action could have been taken to avoid giving rise to the perception of impropriety.
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Is it perception, or reality?
Of course, people have taken a rather dim view to all this on Twitter. After all, Braverman has form. She was forced to resign under previous prime minister Liz Truss for using her personal email to send an official document to a colleague.
Labour MP Clive Lewis said Tory rule breakers were a feature, not a bug:
If you are powerful, the rules simply do not apply to you.
Boris Johnson and his parties, Suella Braverman’s speeding, and water companies dumping sewage in our rivers.
These are not exceptions, they are features of our broken political system. pic.twitter.com/9mpixqe2Bi
— Clive Lewis MP (@labourlewis) May 24, 2023
Author and lawyer Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu had scathing words for Sunak and Braverman:
Rishi Sunak lied when he said he would uphold integrity in government. Suella Braverman should be investigated for attempting to use the Civil Service for private gain.
They don’t even care to give an appearance of transparency and accountability.
This is what the Tory Govt is. pic.twitter.com/FVSc9aHuD3
— Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (@SholaMos1) May 24, 2023
MP Dawn Butler argued that Sunak was avoiding an investigation because he knew Braverman wouldn’t survive its outcome:
Rishi Sunak promised integrity, professionalism, and accountability – but we get the exact opposite from this weak Prime Minister.
He is running scared because he knows an investigation will find her guilty.
The Tories are unfit to govern.https://t.co/SkeSiLiQiF
— Dawn Butler MP✊🏾💙 (@DawnButlerBrent) May 24, 2023
Byline Times political editor Adam Bienkov also made the point that Sunak was avoiding an investigation in order to protect himself:
🔴Suella Braverman's Survival Shows Sunak’s ‘Core Value’ is Self-Interest
— Byline Times (@BylineTimes) May 24, 2023
Crumbling Home Office
This speeding scandal, however, is far from the only trouble Braverman is facing. The Guardian reported that civil servants had to fact-check Braverman frequently, writing:
Government sources told the Guardian Braverman has repeatedly got things wrong… one insider said she made “basic errors”, while another said she “keeps getting facts wrong”. After meetings with other senior ministers, the Cabinet Office was said to have had to contact officials from the Home Office, who were asked to “factcheck” her claims.
I News also cited senior Tory sources who claimed that Braverman was not fit for office, with one MP claiming:
She should never have been appointed in the first place. She was sacked for breaching the ministerial code. She is not fit for office.
More seriously, there are now emerging claims that Braverman has undisclosed links to the Rwandan government. The Independent reported that the current home secretary co-founded a charity called the ‘Africa Justice Foundation’ with Cherie Blair. The charity trained lawyers between 2010 and 2015.
It appears that several workers from the charity are key members of the Rwandan government. And, of course, the UK government is now involved in a £140 million deal to use Rwanda to detain and process refugees arriving on UK shores.
As with the speeding debacle, Braverman could still wriggle out of this one. The Independent cites a “source close to the home secretary” who told them:
This was charity work carried out by Ms Braverman before she was an MP, and for which she wasn’t paid.
The real scandal here is not that Braverman might wriggle out of breaking the ministerial code of conduct (again). It is the policies she’s overseeing normalising racist hatred and the shocking treatment of refugees.
Braverman has proven herself to be not only incompetent, but also morally deplorable. Based on the fucked-up standards of modern politics, Braverman should face investigations and accountability for her breaches of conduct. However, it’s hard to muster up the will to care, overshadowed as they are by her behaviour on policies that dehumanise Black and Brown refugees.
This government are a craven bunch, driven entirely by their will to make personal connections and profit from their time in office. Why should we have to rely on a broken standard of ministerial conduct for accountability?
Instead, we need to be able to resist Braverman’s horrific policies whilst tearing apart the system that makes it acceptable to allow Black and Brown refugees to die in the sea, or else be detained and deported by our racist system.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse
Featured image via YouTube screenshot/Sky News
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