New UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak waded into controversy this evening, shortly after he started assembling his team, over the inclusion of Suella Braverman as the Secretary of State for the Home Department. The hardline interior minister quit last week over a technical breach of government rules. UK dailies reported speculation that she was asked to step down.
Ms Braverman — an outspoken critic of Rishi Sunak’s predecessor Liz Truss’s economic policy — had come out in support of Mr Sunak in the run-up to his election last week. “We need unity, stability and efficiency. Rishi Sunak is the only candidate that fits the bill and I am proud to support him,” she wrote in The Daily Telegraph.
The news of her reappointment on the official twitter handle of the Prime Minister drew largely negative comments. Many questioned how the Conservative Party reappointed a leader who had admitted to a security breach. Others questioned her stance on policies — especially on migration control — that has drawn mixed reactions even within her party.
“Appointing Suella Braverman as Home secretary just days after she was sacked for a security breach doesn’t smack of integrity, competence, professionalism or sensible politics. It’s just cynical manoeuvring. This PM’s no better than the last two,” tweeted Labour MP Chris Bryant.
The London-born daughter of a Goan-origin father and Tamil-origin mother, Ms Braverman has expressed “reservations” about UK’s trade deal with India.
In an interview, she said she feared the deal would increase migration to the UK, when Indians already represented the largest group of visa overstayers.
Earlier this month, she blamed the riots in Leicester following an India-Pakistan cricket match on uncontrolled migration into the UK and the newcomers’ failure to integrate.
She also pledged to reduce illegal migration, vowing to control the small boats bringing illegal migrants across the English Channel, “abusing” the UK’s asylum system.
She also committed to her predecessor Priti Patel’s scheme of deporting illegal migrants to Rwanda. Ms Patel had launched the scheme which has not fully taken off.
Suella Braverman was the Attorney General in the cabinet of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and found a key slot in the Liz Truss cabinet as the Home Secretary.
She had stepped down last week, saying in her resignation letter that she sent an official document from her personal email address, breaking the ministerial code.
The letter also contained harsh criticism of Liz Truss. Her government, Suella Braverman wrote, had “broken key pledges that were promised to voters”.