Suella Braverman speeding ticket row: Rishi Sunak decides not to investigate

The Home Secretary was facing calls for an inquiry after reports she asked for special treatment when she was issued with a speeding fine

Rishi Sunak has decided not to launch an investigation into the way Home Secretary Suella Braverman dealt with a speeding ticket.

It follows newspaper reports at the weekend that she asked Home Office civil servants for special treatment. Braverman did not deny she asked them to intervene - but insisted there was “nothing untoward”. The Prime Minister said he would not take the matter further although he told her a “better course of action” could have been taken.

What did Suella Braverman do?

Suella Braverman was issued with a speeding notice by police outside of London when she was the Attorney General in the summer of 2022. According to The Sunday Times, she then asked officials at the Home Office whether she could go on a one-to-one speed awareness course to avoid attending a group course in person or online, where she might be recognised.

Suella Braverman was fined for speeding when she was Attorney General in the summer of 2022 - Credit: GettySuella Braverman was fined for speeding when she was Attorney General in the summer of 2022 - Credit: Getty
Suella Braverman was fined for speeding when she was Attorney General in the summer of 2022 - Credit: Getty

Civil servants refused the request, which was reported to the Cabinet Office. It’s claimed Braverman then decided to go through a political aide in an attempt to complete the course anonymously - and avoid points on her licence. She eventually paid the fine and was given three points.

Asked directly by journalists on Monday (May 22) if she asked officials to arrange a one-to-one course for her, Braverman said: “Last summer, I was speeding. I regret that. I paid the fine and I took the points but we’re focused now on delivering for the British people and working for them.” She added: “I’m confident that nothing untoward has happened.”

What has Rishi Sunak said?

In a letter to Braverman today (May 24), Sunak said he’d consulted his independent ethics adviser Sir Laurie Magnus, who concluded further investigation was “not necessary”. The PM confirmed he’d accepted that advice - and concluded Braverman did not breach the ministerial code.

But the letter went on: “As you have recognised, a better course of action could have been taken to avoid giving rise to the perception of impropriety”.

In her own letter to the PM, Braverman said at no point did she “try to avoid sanction” - and she simply wanted to find an “appropriate way to participate in the speed awareness course taking into account the security and privacy issues” raised by her being Home Secretary.

She added: “With hindsight, I acknowledge that the better course of action would have been to take the points and fine upfront.”

What did opposition parties want?

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats had wanted Sunak to ask Magnus to investigate. The row is likely to feature at Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons at 12 noon.

Lib Dem chief whip Wendy Chamberlain said the decision not to launch an inquiry was a “cowardly cop-out from Rishi Sunak.” She added: “With every scandal, we see the Prime Minister dither, delay and flip-flop - never taking decisive action. 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.”

What other allegations have emerged?

On Tuesday (May 23) the Independent reported that Braverman failed to formally disclose previous charity work with the government in Rwanda - where the Home Office intends to send some of those seeking asylum in the UK.

A source close to Braverman told the website it wasn’t necessary to disclose that work because it happened before she was an MP, and she wasn’t paid.