Andrew Marr: Suella Braverman is facing a controversy bigger than her speeding awareness course

23 May 2023, 18:54

As the home secretary is caught up in fresh code breaches, Andrew Marr labels it a 'serious matter'

By Will Taylor

Andrew Marr examines the controversy surrounding Suella Braverman at the start of Tuesday's show.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The host of Tonight With Andrew Marr said there are allegations far more serious than the debate about her speeding course.

"Suella, Suella, Suella Deville: If her civil servants don't get her, the emails sure will," he said.

"That, at least, is the view of many MPs. This is not really what you'd call a top-level political scandal - no sex, no drugs, not even the hurling of a tomato across an office.

"Alleged hurling. Alleged tomato. It involves the home secretary's alleged attempt to get civil servants to help her get a private driving course after being caught speeding, thus avoiding embarrassing publicity at a difficult time.

"But Labour thinks she's been equivocal about what happened and misled journalists, and in short she is up to her nostrils in trouble.

Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player

"We're still waiting to hear whether Rishi Sunak is going to ask his ethics advisor Sir Laurie Magnus to investigate - but the paymaster general Jeremy Quin didn't make it sound as if there's a tearing hurry.

"Now, when I was lolling around Westminster earlier on today - lolling is one of my top talents - the general consensus was that Suella Braverman was going to survive all of this.

"By attacking the government from the outside, almost as if she isn't sure where the Home Office is, over its record on immigration, the home secretary has become a bit of a heroine to the Tory right, even spoken of as a future leader.

"Far from being a reason for Rishi Sunak to kick her out of government, this is probably why he wants to hang on to her: he just doesn't need any more trouble from that wing of his party right now.

Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player

"The problem is, trouble seems to stick to Suella Braverman like honey to a rampaging toddler's fingers.

"She had to resign from Liz Truss's government - remember that? - over another breach of the ministerial code.

"And today we learned that she helped set up a charity with members of the same Rwanda government with whom she's done a £14 million deal over asylum seeker deportations, without declaring it.

"The charity helps train lawyers and is not particularly right wing or left wing or anything else - Cherie Blair's involved as well - but since Rwanda has been so important to Braverman's politics, this seems to me a more serious matter than anything to do with emails or driving schools."