Rishi Sunak consults ethics adviser Sir Laurie Magnus on Suella Braverman’s speeding allegations
The home secretary is expected to face questions over claims she has asked officials to help her organize a private speed awareness class while she faces an investigation.
The Prime Minister is expected to speak to Suella Braverman after hinting that her alleged request for assistance from Home Office officials after she was caught speeding may have breached Ministers Law.
Rishi Sunak, who was raised with questions about the Home Secretary’s handling of her speeding ticket at a meeting of G7 leaders in Japan, will also seek advice from his ethics adviser Sir Laurie Magnus on how to proceed.
Sir Laurie cannot open an inquiry into a minister’s behavior without Mr Sunak, who was due to return from Asia on Monday, agreeing to an inquiry.
“The Prime Minister has always followed due process on these matters and will consult the independent adviser on his return to London,” a No.10 source said.
The leader of the Conservative Party is also expected to speak to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case after it was suggested it was the Cabinet Office that had instructed Home Office officials not to give Ms Braverman advice on securing a private course.
Ms Braverman could be questioned over her reaction to the speeding during visits on Monday morning and then again in the House of Commons on Home Office questions.
Opposition MPs could also turn to Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle with an urgent question on the matter.
The Labor Party called on Mr Sunak to “show a backing” and “immediately” commission an inquiry into his home secretary’s claims.
Mr Sunak refused to support Ms Braverman when asked for his opinion at a press conference on Sunday, but Downing Street later said he still had faith in her.
Labor Deputy Leader Angela Rayner, in a letter to Mr Sunak, said his independent adviser should check whether Ms Braverman had asked officials to help her register for a private driving course, as she was reportedly trying to put points on her driving licence to avoid.
The senior opposition MP said if the cabinet minister had done so, it could amount to a breach of the ministerial code.
She said the code provided that ministers must uphold the political impartiality of the civil service and not require officials to do anything contrary to the civil service code.
The code, which civil servants must abide by, states that civil servants must not “abuse” their position to “advance private interests or those of others.”
Ms Rayner said: “Members of Cabinet are subject to the same laws as the rest of us and any attempt to order officials to be given special treatment on this matter would clearly amount to an unacceptable abuse of power and privilege by the Home Secretary. ” .”
A former senior official said he believed Ms Braverman appeared to have placed officials in an “impossible situation”.
Philip Ryecroft, former permanent secretary of the now defunct department for exiting the European Union, told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour program: “On the face of it I think that’s a breach of the Ministerial Code.”
“Of course, investigations etc. still need to be done, but the code is very clear. Ministers must ensure that no conflict arises or appears to arise between their public duties and their private interests.
“Even if you ask an officer how she could attend one of these courses, she’s in an impossible position.”
According to The Sunday Times, Ms Braverman asked Home Office officials to help organize a one-on-one driving awareness course as she was keen on not having to accept three points on her driver’s license for a speeding offence.
Officials are said to have denied the request, which is why Ms Braverman allegedly reached out to a political adviser to help her try to find an alternative to attending a class with other drivers.
A Home Office spokeswoman said she regretted the speeding and has since accepted the points and paid the fine.
The speeding offense reportedly happened on a street outside London last year when Ms Braverman was serving as Solicitor General.
But the Sunday Times, which first reported the story, said it was only when the senior Tory became Home Secretary during Liz Truss’ short tenure that she asked the civil service for advice.
According to the Daily Mirror, the Home Secretary’s special adviser had repeatedly denied that Ms Braverman had been caught speeding when a reporter from the newspaper brought the suggestion to them last month.
The newspaper published a transcript of the exchange. The adviser declined to comment when contacted by the PA news agency.
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/suella-braverman-speeding-ticket-rishi-sunak-ethics-adviser-laurie-magnus-home-secretary-b1082679.html Rishi Sunak consults ethics adviser Sir Laurie Magnus on Suella Braverman’s speeding allegations