New British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was embroiled in controversy tonight over the appointment of Suella Braverman as Secretary of State for the Home Office, shortly after starting to build the team. The hardline interior minister resigned last week over technology breaches of government regulations. The British daily reported speculation that she had been asked to step down.
Ms Braverman – an outspoken critic of the economic policies of Rishi Sunak’s predecessor Liz Truss – came out in support of Mr Sunak on the eve of last week’s election. “We need unity, stability and efficiency. Rishi Sunak is the only candidate who fits the bill and I’m proud to support him,” she wrote in The Telegraph.
News of her re-election on the prime minister’s official Twitter account drew largely negative comments. Many have questioned how the Conservatives could reappoint a leader who admits to a security breach. Others questioned her stance on policy – especially on immigration control – and even within her party it drew mixed reactions.
“The appointment of Sulla Braverman as Home Secretary just days after she was fired for a security breach is not a sign of integrity, competence, professionalism or sensible politics. It’s just cynical tactic. This prime minister is no better than the first two Well done,” Labour MP Chris Bryant tweeted.
The London-born daughter of a Goan father and a Tamil mother, Ms Braverman expressed her “reservations” over the UK’s trade deal with India.
In an interview, she said she feared the deal would increase immigration to the UK, where Indians are already the largest group of visa overstayers.
Earlier this month, she blamed uncontrolled immigration into the UK and the failure of newcomers to integrate into the country for the unrest in Leicester after the India-Pakistan cricket match.
She also pledged to reduce illegal immigration, vowing to control the small boats that bring them into the English Channel, “abusing” Britain’s asylum system.
She is also working on her predecessor Priti Patel’s plan to deport illegal immigrants to Rwanda. Ms. Patel has launched a program that has not yet been fully launched.
Sulla Braverman was Attorney-General in former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet and Home Secretary in Liz Truss’ cabinet.
She resigned last week, saying in her resignation letter that she violated ministerial codes by sending an official document from her personal email address.
The letter also contained harsh criticism of Liz Truss. Suella Braverman wrote that her administration “breaks key promises to voters.”