Under fire Braverman admits forwarding work documents to personal phone six times

31 October 2022, 12:10 | Updated: 31 October 2022, 13:14

Suella Braverman has insisted documents she shared were not classified
Suella Braverman has insisted documents she shared were not classified. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has admitted to forwarding work documents to her personal phone six times.

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In a letter to the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee's chairwoman Dame Diana Johnson, Ms Braverman apologised for the breach while also attempting to clarify what happened.

There have been growing calls for Ms Braverman to step down from her role once again after her controversial reappointment in Rishi Sunak's Cabinet.

Ms Braverman initially resigned from the Truss Government on October 19 after sending a draft written ministerial statement (WMS) on immigration policy to Tory backbencher Sir John Hayes and - inadvertently - a staff member of Conservative MP Andrew Percy.

However, she revealed in her letter to the committee that between September 6 and October 19 she had sent official documents from her Government email to her personal address on six occasions.

Read more: Who is home secretary Suella Braverman? Everything you need to know

Read more: Suella Braverman 'ignored advice' that she was breaking the law by keeping migrants for weeks in disease-ridden centres

Ms Braverman says she apologised to Mr Sunak when she was reappointed
Ms Braverman says she apologised to Mr Sunak when she was reappointed. Picture: Alamy
The six times Ms Braverman shared documents to her personal email
The six times Ms Braverman shared documents to her personal email. Picture: UK Government

She said that it was on occasions when she was conducting meetings virtually or "related to public lines to take in interviews".

She insisted that none of the documents were "market-sensitive" - classified secret or top secret.

She said former Prime Minister Liz Truss had "specifically" asked her to engage with parliamentary colleagues to discuss the content of the planned WMS, which consisted of "high-level proposals for liberalising our migration rules", including "increasing the number of low-skilled foreign workers, as well as general plans for controlling illegal migration".

Much of the document had already been briefed to MPs - including Sir John - "at the request" of Ms Truss, although Ms Braverman acknowledged that "some sentences" had not been fully agreed by all departments.

She said: "I want the Home Affairs Select Committee to be reassured on the very important point about the nature of the document that I shared by mistake.

"The draft WMS did not contain any information relating to national security, the intelligence agencies, cyber security or law enforcement."

Rishi Sunak has stuck by his decision to take Ms Braverman back on as Home Secretary
Rishi Sunak has stuck by his decision to take Ms Braverman back on as Home Secretary. Picture: Alamy

Ms Braverman said the Home Office review "confirmed that I had never used my Government email to send any information to external recipients outside of Government".

Other than on October 19, the event which triggered her resignation, "I have not used my personal email account to send official Home Office documents to other people outside of Government".

She also said she had apologised to Mr Sunak when she was reappointed as Home Secretary and publicly repeated that apology.

"In my appointment discussion with the new Prime Minister, I raised this mistake and apologised to him, and would like to do so again here," she said.

"I also gave the Prime Minister assurances that I would not use my personal email for official business and reaffirmed my understanding of and adherence to the Ministerial Code."

The Prime Minister's official spokesperson said that Ms Braverman has now set out a "detailed account" over her breach of the ministerial code.

They added: "I think she has set out in quite a lot of detail what has happened and the mitigations that have been taken.

"Clearly, as she makes clear, she made an error of judgment, she recognises that the approach she took was not right and it is for those reasons that she felt it was right to resign, and obviously she has apologised, both to the Prime Minister, the MP involved, and she has set out a detailed letter to the committee today."

Ms Braverman is due to appear in the House of Commons later to take questions on the matter, as well as to discuss the chaos at the Manston migrant processing facility.

Lib Dem chief whip Wendy Chamberlain said the Home Secretary "has admitted breaking the rules on an industrial scale" and "must resign now".

"Unless Suella Braverman resigns for the second time, the Conservatives will be putting their own party ahead of this country's security."

Downing Street said the Prime Minister has full confidence in the Home Secretary.