Backlash against Braverman: Civil service fury as Sunak accused of 'grubby deal' over Home Secretary appointment

27 October 2022, 03:24 | Updated: 27 October 2022, 03:25

Rishi Sunak has reappointed Ms Braverman in his Cabinet
Rishi Sunak has reappointed Ms Braverman in his Cabinet. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has received a backlash from civil servants after returning to her role six days after being forced to resign.

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It came after it emerged that the Cabinet Secretary raised concerns with Rishi Sunak about her reappointment.

The First Division Association (FDA), which represents senior civil servants, said the move showed "political expediency" when any civil servant acting in the same way would have lost their security clearance.

They said the "clear signal" was that ministers could act with impunity and called for a new ethics adviser.

Dave Penman, FDA general secretary, said: "This would prevent conflicts of interest and deter the political expediency the Prime Minister has shown by reappointing the Home Secretary less than a week after allegedly acting in a way that any civil servants would rightly be expected to face the harshest of penalties for, including losing their security clearance."

Ms Braverman was forced out of her post by Liz Truss for using her personal email to send sensitive documents.

Read more: 'Complete mockery': James O'Brien rages over the PM's reappointment of Suella Braverman

Read more: Fiery Sunak locks horns with Starmer over economy, Brexit and Braverman in first PMQs as Prime Minister

Rishi Sunak leaving No10 for his first PMQs.
Rishi Sunak leaving No10 for his first PMQs. Picture: Alamy

The Cabinet Office’s Propriety and Ethics Team (PET) raised concerns about Mr Sunak's proposed appointments on Tuesday, including Ms Braverman’s, it is understood.

But the group does not have the power to block them going ahead.

Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary, is believed to have then set out to the Prime Minister why she was judged to have breached the code but made no recommendation.

Sajid Javid reflects on reappointment of Suella Braverman to Cabinet

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper wrote to Mr Case, saying an investigation was vital to establish the "extent of this and other possible security breaches".

She raised speculation during an urgent question that Ms Braverman was previously investigated for a leak of information "relating to the security service" when she was attorney-general.

It related to a story about the Government's plan to apply for an injunction against the BBC to stop it from identifying a spy who was accused of using his position to terrorise his former partner, according to the Daily Mail.

A Cabinet Office spokesman told the paper: "We do not comment on alleged leak investigations."

Suella Braverman outside No10.
Suella Braverman outside No10. Picture: Alamy

Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer also quizzed Mr Sunak on Ms Braverman's reappointment during Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday.

He asked whether she was "right" to initially leave the role because of a "deliberate" breach of security.

Mr Sunak said Ms Braverman had "made an error of judgement" but said she "recognised that".

"She raised the matter and she accepted her mistake," he said.

"And that's why I was delighted to welcome her back."

Sir Keir dug deeper, saying Mr Sunak had promised to bring "integrity, professionalism and accountability" to Government as the new PM.

"So, have officials raised concerns about his decision to appoint her?" he asked.

Mr Sunak said he had "just addressed the issue of the Home Secretary" and said she was focused on fighting crime.

But Sir Keir accused him of doing "a grubby deal, trading national security because he was scared to lose another leadership election".

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