Sunak avoids backing Braverman as Labour calls for probe into her 'attempt to dodge group speeding awareness course'

21 May 2023, 08:21 | Updated: 21 May 2023, 08:23

Rishi Sunak avoided giving out direct support
Rishi Sunak avoided giving out direct support. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Rishi Sunak has declined to back Suella Braverman when asked directly about allegations she asked civil servants to avoid getting points on her driver's licence without being recognised in public.

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The Prime Minister did not tell journalists covering his work at the G7 summit in Japan whether he would open an investigation into the home secretary.

He was asked at the close of the gathering in Hiroshima if he had full confidence in her.

"I don't know the full details of what has happened nor have I spoken to the home secretary," Mr Sunak said.

"I think you can see first hand what I have been doing over the last day or so but I understand that she's expressed regret for speeding, accepted the penalty and paid the fine."

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Pushed on whether he would ask his ethics adviser Sir Laurie Magnus to investigate the allegations, he told journalists: "Did you have any questions about the summit?"

Ms Braverman asked aides at the Home Office to arrange a driving awareness course just for her after being caught speeding outside London in the summer last year, The Sunday Times reported.

Rishi Sunak initially dodged questions about Ms Braverman
Rishi Sunak initially dodged questions about Ms Braverman. Picture: Alamy

Civil servants are said to have refused to do so over concerns they were being asked to become involved in Ms Braverman's personal affairs, and were told not to assist her by the Cabinet Office.

One of Ms Braverman's political aides was then reportedly asked by the home secretary to help her, and tried to persuade the provider to undertake the online course using an alias or with her camera switched off, but it refused to do so.

Ms Braverman is said to have initially opted to attend a course in lieu of points and the fine.

Read more: Labour demand probe over claims Suella Braverman asked civil servants to help her swerve speeding fine

Sources told The Sunday Times that the cabinet minister, who earns £150,000-a-year, made the decision over concerns that points on her licence would increase her car insurance premium.

According to the paper, sources close to the home secretary said she was unaware that these requests were made on her behalf, and repeatedly refused to comment on whether her motivation had been to reduce the chances of a member of the public recognising her.

Ms Braverman does not believe she breached the ministerial code
Ms Braverman does not believe she breached the ministerial code. Picture: Alamy

Ms Braverman later chose to accept the three points on her licence.

Labour's shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper called the reports "shocking".

"The home secretary and the prime minister need to both urgently explain what has been going on, including what the prime minister knew when he reappointed her," she said.

"Rishi Sunak was too weak to deal with her the last time she broke the ministerial code, is he still too weak to take action now?

"We need an urgent investigation into what has gone on here, starting with Laurie Magnus seeing how this is possibly compatible with the ministerial code."

Alistair Carmichael, the Lib Dems' home affairs spokesperson, said: "Once again for the Government it's one rule for them and another for the rest of us.

"Suella Braverman should be urgently investigated by the ethics adviser and add her name to the near endless list of ministers who have had to undergo the same."

A source close to Ms Braverman insisted both the ticket and arrangements for dealing with it were reported to the Cabinet Office.

She is understood to dispute suggestions her actions were a breach of the ministerial code.

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