The Speaker
Wednesday, 24 July 2024 – 22:23

Should Suella Braverman stay on as Home Secretary?

It has been a tumultuous few weeks for one of the leading figures on the right wing of the Conservative party, Suella Braverman. The current Home Secretary faces a fresh wave of public scrutiny just days after her re-appointment, following further information being released regarding the circumstances of her resignation from the Cabinet a little over a week ago.

What were the reasons behind Braverman’s initial resignation?

Suella Braverman has been at the forefront of much public controversy since her appointment as Home Secretary to Liz Truss’s Cabinet in early September. A staunchly authoritarian anti-immigrant Conservative, Braverman has previously enthused about her “dream” of seeing the Daily Telegraph front page picturing asylum seekers on a plane being deported to Rwanda.

With her position already questioned by many moderate and left-leaning members of Parliament, it was unlikely for her role in the Cabinet to be without public criticism. However, the doubts surrounding Braverman’s first appointment as Home Secretary were justified a matter of weeks into the job, when it was discovered that she had leaked sensitive information surrounding potential migration policies to a Tory backbencher (and his wife) via her personal email account. This was a significant enough security breach that Braverman was forced to resign immediately her role, then filled by Grant Shapps for a single week before Liz Truss’s government dissolved completely.

Despite Braverman breaching national security with her actions, new PM Rishi Sunak defied political expectations and reappointed her to the role in his new Cabinet just a week later. Whilst this was likely an appointment designed to appeal to the far-right of the party, it has come at the expense of Sunak and other Tory MPs who find themselves required to vehemently defend Braverman. This has been compounded by new emerging scandals involving Braverman, tainting the self-proclaimed ‘integrity’ of Sunak’s government.

Can she survive her reappointment?

In recent days Home Office officials have raised further concerns regarding Braverman’s suitability for office, after it was discovered that she appears to have been leaking sensitive information to the Tory backbencher Sir John Hayes and his wife for a considerable amount of time; this was not a mishandling of a lone email. Significantly, the speed at which Braverman attempted to address her leaking of information is now in question, apparently allowing a number of hours to pass before attempting to correct her action. The threat to national security that Braverman poses in making such serious ‘mistakes’ is undeniable.

Braverman is also under increasing pressure around her responsibilities for the disease-ridden and overcrowded conditions at Manston migrant processing centre near Dover. Braverman herself has not once visited the centre, however pushed Home Office officials to prohibit “genuine refugees” from seeking asylum in the UK, during the period in which the centre began to overcrowd. Information she was warned about by the Home Office but deliberately ignored. In fact, she appears to have refused to book additional hotel rooms nearby – a tactic that has been used by previous administrations – to alleviate pressure. This has led to the inhumane conditions it is reported that asylum seekers are currently facing in the centre, with a number reported to be sleeping on hallway floors for up to four weeks.

With so much public pressure mounting on Suella Braverman to either take action or resign, it is likely that something will have to give: the Home Secretary must either take responsibility and give way, or defend the position she has only held since Wednesday.

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