Politics

It’s hard to envision Sunak removing Braverman and risking a showdown

What is it about politicians and driving fines?

In 2012 Lib Dem minister Chris Huhne resigned from the coalition government after his then-wife took speeding points for him.

They both ended up in prison for perverting the course of justice.

In 2019, Labour MP Fiona Onasanya was jailed and ejected from parliament for the same offence after lying to police to avoid a speeding fine.

The current Home Office team also has a chequered record.

As well as Suella Braverman’s speeding points, Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick is currently banned from driving after being caught going 30 miles per hour over the speed limit.

Security Minister Tom Tugendhat was handed the same punishment in November after being spotted behind the wheel with a mobile phone.

The predicament the home secretary has found herself in may be less severe on paper, but it could still be politically problematic.

That’s not necessarily because her actions on their own are so egregious as to warrant a sacking or resignation.

One motoring lawyer has suggested there’s nothing unusual in high-profile people taking private speed awareness courses.

But he did acknowledge she probably shouldn’t have asked civil servants to help.

Read more:
Sunak to consult independent ethics adviser over Braverman
Popcorn at the ready – Braverman’s going to have a bad week

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2:21

PM refuses to back Braverman

Braverman in tense political situation

The reason this could still cause issues is because of the somewhat tense political situation Ms Braverman currently finds herself in.

On migration, new figures this week will likely show legal migration at another record high.

That’s bad news for a minister who styles herself as a hardliner on new arrivals.

Ms Braverman has been pushing measures to try and curb overseas students, some of which will likely be announced in the coming days.

But this has led to tension in government as the more stringent suggestions have run into resistance from other members of the cabinet who are concerned about economic and educational factors.

Speech at right-wing conference ruffled party feathers

Her speech to the right-wing National Conservatism conference on Monday also ruffled feathers in the party.

Some felt it sounded more like a leadership pitch than an address from a sitting senior minister.

On policy too, Ms Braverman’s call for the UK to train more fruit pickers and butchers seemed to go beyond government policy in tone if not in substance.

Then there’s the argument around a member of her advisory team appearing to mislead journalists over whether the home secretary had been caught speeding in the first place.

And that all comes on top of her resignation last year from the same post after sharing official documents from her personal email address.

Braverman is creating a lot of noise

Put simply – Ms Braverman is creating a lot of noise.

The danger is that political noise can become self-fulfilling and spiralling as one controversy gives rise to another.

So where does this go from here?

It’s hard to see Rishi Sunak removing his home secretary and risking a showdown with the right of his party.

But that doesn’t mean Ms Braverman is in a comfortable spot.

Known as the “graveyard for ministers”, the Home Office could yet claim another scalp.

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