Suella Braverman won’t face investigation over speeding row, says No10
The Home Secretary will not face an investigation over whether she broke the ministerial code by involving civil servants in a bid to avoid a public speed awareness course, Downing Street confirmed on Wednesday.
In a letter to Suella Braverman, Rishi Sunak said he had conferred with his independent adviser on ministerial interests and determined no formal probe was necessary.
However, the Prime Minister warned her that “a better course of action could have been taken to avoid giving rise to the perception of impropriety”.
“Nevertheless, I am reassured you take these matters seriously,” he said in his letter. “You have provided a thorough account, apologised and expressed regret.”
The Home Secretary reportedly asked civil servants to help arrange a private driving awareness course rather than paying a fine after she was caught breaking the limit in June 2022, while she was Attorney General.
She opted to take a group speed awareness course in the Autumn over a fine and three points her licence, which was clean at the time.
Subsequently she paid the fine and took the penalty points on her licence, Ms Braverman confirmed earlier this week.
“After arriving at the Home Office in September as Home Secretary, I informed officials in my Private Office about the course and asked whether it was appropriate given my new role,” she said in a letter to Mr Sunak.
“This reflected my lack of familiarity with protocol relating to my newly acquired official status as a ‘protected person’, which means I am required to have a close protection security team overseeing my movements, and with me always in public. This involves close protection having knowledge of and involvement in many areas of what would otherwise be considered my ‘private life’, not related to my work as a Minister or Member of Parliament.”
She added that she regrets that her handling of the speeding ticket “led some to question my commitment” to honesty, integrity and openness.
“I am deeply committed to all the Nolan Principles of Public Life, including honesty, integrity and openness, and I regret that these events have led some to question my commitment,” she said.
“I have at all times been truthful and transparent, and taken decisions guided by what I believed was right and appropriate given my office, not by any personal motivation. Another principle, of course, is leadership: Ministers must hold themselves, and be seen to hold themselves, to the highest standards.
“I have always strived, and will continue to strive, to do this.”
Mr Sunak’s decision not to order a formal investigation amounts to a “cowardly cop-out,” the Liberal Democrats said.
The party’s chief whip Wendy Chamberlain said: “With every scandal, we see the Prime Minister dither, delay and flip-flop, never taking decisive action.
“This is not the leadership the country needs during such a severe cost-of-living crisis. Sunak is too weak to even order an investigation, let alone sack his Home Secretary.
“Sunak had the chance to do the right thing but instead he’s once again chosen to be ruled by his own hardline backbenchers. He may be in office but he is barely in power.”