Labour’s deputy leader has urged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to ‘show some backbone’ over claims the home secretary tried to avoid attending a course after being caught speeding.
Angela Rayner has written to Mr Sunak demanding an investigation into the claims that Suella Braverman asked civil servants to help her avoid attending a driving awareness course alongside other motorists.
Mrs Braverman is alleged to have asked Home Office officials to help organise a one-to-one course instead – but when this was refused she then asked a political aide to help her arrange an alternative.
Labour says that if the reports are true Mrs Braverman may have breached the ministerial code and they want Sir Laurie Magnus, independent adviser on ministerial interests, to investigate.
Ms Rayner said the prime minister should order an investigation ‘without delay’.
She added: ‘Members of the cabinet are subject to the same laws as the rest of us, and any attempt to direct civil servants to obtain special treatment in this matter would clearly amount to an unacceptable abuse of power and privilege by the home secretary.’
In a separate statement Ms Rayner also said: ‘The prime minister must show some backbone and order his ethics adviser to investigate the home secretary to get to the bottom of this episode without further delay.
‘The public have a right to know whether the minister responsible for law and order sought to abuse her position in an attempt to gain preferential treatment to avoid a speeding fine.
‘This Conservative cabinet appear to think they are above the laws that govern the rest of us.’
A source close to Mrs Braverman told PA news agency she notified the cabinet office after being handed the speeding ticket. She was reportedly caught driving too fast on a road outside of London last summer.
A spokesman for the home secretary says she regrets speeding and has since accepted the points and paid the fine.
Mr Sunak, who is currently meeting G7 leaders in Hiroshima, Japan, refused to back Mrs Braverman when asked his opinion at a press conference earlier today.
But Downing Street has since said he has full confidence in the home secretary.
This isn’t the first time Mrs Braverman has faced controversy. She was appointed to her Home Office role by Mr Sunak only six days after she resigned as home secretary during Liz Truss’s brief premiership.
She resigned over sharing a sensitive document with a Tory backbencher from a personal email without permission.
In March an email sent out in Mrs Braverman’s name blamed ‘an activist blob of left-wing lawyers, civil servants and the Labour party’ for blocking previous attempts to tackle illegal migration.
She was accused of potentially breaking ministerial rules by questioning the impartiality of public servants – but Downing Street later said she ‘did not see, sign off or sanction’ the email, which was sent by mistake.
In Mr Sunak’s first speech after entering No 10, he vowed to lead an administration with ‘integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level’.
Ms Rayner said: ‘Rishi Sunak was too weak to deal with Suella Braverman the last time she broke the ministerial code, and his reluctance to order an investigation right away speaks volumes on how seriously he takes his promise to bring integrity to government.’
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