James Cleverly defends Suella Braverman as Home Secretary
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Tory MPs have rallied around Suella Braverman after her reappointment to the Home Office was met with outrage. Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper tabled an urgent question in the House of Commons to ask about her reappointment as Home Secretary, calling for an investigation into breaches of the ministerial code. But Tory MP Bernard Jenkin defended Rishi Sunak’s decision to appoint Ms Braverman, saying he can “vouch for the highest integrity of my right honourable friend the Home Secretary.”
He also noted that former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair sacked and then reappointed Peter Mandelson.
Mr Mandelson was first forced to quit Tony Blair’s cabinet in 1998 after failing to disclose that he had secretly received a £373,000 loan from a fellow minister to buy a house in London.
Mr Blair later reappointed him as Northern Ireland Secretary.
Defending Ms Braverman, Sir Bernard said: “Can I remind my right honourable friend that Tony Blair had to remove one of his most senior and trusted advisors for a breach of the Ministerial Code and later reappointed him to the Government?
“And I think what the public will respect is the fact that we have a system that holds ministers accountable for breaching the Ministerial Code but there is learning from mistakes and not just blame.”
Fellow Tory MP, Sammy Wilson launched a similar defence of the Home Secretary, telling the House of Commons that a minister’s reappointment after stepping down from their job is “not unique in this house”.
He noted that Ms Braverman “said she was sorry for making the mistake and took the honourable decision to step down from her job”, adding: “There is not a party in this house who hasn’t reappointed somebody”.
Ms Braverman resigned from Government last Wednesday, admitting to having “sent an official document from my personal email to a trusted parliamentary colleague as part of policy engagement, and with the aim of garnering support for government policy on migration”.
She was then reappointed by Mr Sunak after he became Prime Minister yesterday.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper called for an investigation into Ms Braverman.
Hitting out at Mr Sunak, she said: “Yesterday the Prime Minister promised integrity, professionalism, accountability.
“And yet they discarded the Ministerial Code, reappointed someone who breached core professional standards and who has now run away from basic accountability to this house.
“It is the same old Tory chaos and it is letting the country down.”
She asked: “Has the Home Office, Cabinet Office or security service now undertaken an investigation into her security breaches to see how many others there have been?
“And can I urge him to make sure that happens urgently?
Ms Cooper continued: “What security clearance has the home secretary been given?
“Does she still have access to the most sensitive documents, and did the cabinet secretary warn against her reappointment?”
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Responding, Cabinet Office minister Jeremy Quin said it would “not be proper” for them to probe “events in the last administration”.
Mr Quin said the Home Secretary had “made an error of judgement, she recognised her mistake and took responsibility for her actions” by resigning last week.
He added: “The Prime Minister has looked again and decided she will return to government.
“At the end of the day it’s very simple, the Home Secretary made a mistake … this Government will have integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level.”
Mr Sunak defended his appointment of Ms Braverman at PMQs today, saying: “The Home Secretary made an error of judgment but she recognised that, she raised the matter and she accepted her mistake.
“That is why I was delighted to welcome her back into a united cabinet that brings experience and stability to the heart of Government.”
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