Suella Braverman addresses speeding fine controversy
Suella Braverman dismissed claims of wrongdoing over her handling of a speeding offence as the Prime Minister considered whether to launch a formal investigation.
The Home Secretary was accused of involving civil servants to help her arrange a private speed awareness course. Ms Braverman insisted she did “nothing untoward” and had not tried to evade a sanction for breaking the speed limit.
Rishi Sunak spent yesterday (Monday) consulting his ethics adviser as well as holding talks with the Cabinet Minister to get to the bottom of the incident.
He told the Commons: “I have always been clear that where issues like this are raised, they should be dealt with properly and they should be dealt with professionally.
“Since I have returned from the G7, I have been receiving information on the issues raised, I have met with both the independent adviser and the Home Secretary. I have asked for further information and I will update on the appropriate course of action in due course.”
The Home Secretary admitted speeding, paid a fine and took penalty points on her licence.
But she did not deny asking officials for help in trying to arrange a one-to-one speed awareness course instead of joining fellow motorists on the programme that allows people with minor offences to avoid incurring points on their licence.
She said: “Last summer, I was speeding. I regret that. I paid the fine and I took the points but we’re focused now on delivering for the British people and working for them.
“In relation to the process, I’m focused on delivering for the British people, doing my job as Home Secretary and what I will say is that, in my view, I’m confident that nothing untoward has happened.”
The speeding offence took place last year when Mrs Braverman was serving as attorney general.
Mr Sunak spoke to Sir Laurie Magnus,his independent adviser on ministers’ interests, who can only begin an investigation into a minister’s conduct with the Prime Minister’s authorisation.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Mrs Braverman should resign if she is found to have broken the ministerial code. But Conservative MPs said the row is a “stitch up” by civil servants who want to oust Ms Braverman.
Tory MP Tom Hunt said: “Clearly there is a witch hunt going on with Suella Braverman.
“We have had it before with Suella. I remember thinking after she got through that her detractors would be back with another attack line.
“I think it has been whipped up slightly and it is a bit of a witch hunt against by people who don’t agree with her views on migration, which are views shared by the majority of the British public.”
Former Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “I would have thought the Prime Minister could think this through pretty clearly, that this is not a big story.”
“What goes on in private offices is that a minister is busy, has many things to do and sometimes will ask for something that civil servants can’t do. But as long as, once they’ve said no, you accept it, then you haven’t done anything wrong.”
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