What did Suella Braverman do? Did Home Secretary breach ministerial code - what has PM Rishi Sunak said

Rishi Sunak is facing pressure to launch an official inquiry into Suella Braverman breaking the ministerial code

Former Tory chairman Sir Jake Berry has accused Suella Braverman of committing “multiple breaches of the ministerial code”.

Sir Jake’s accusation comes as the Prime Minister faces a backlash over reinstating Braverman in her Cabinet role, just days after she dramatically quit Liz Truss’s government over a security breach.

Downing Street confirmed on Tuesday that Braverman, who caused controversy with a string of provocative comments during her previous six-week stint in the role, will return as Home Secretary in Rishi Sunak’s government. She threw her support behind Sunak in the contest to replace Truss, in what was widely seen as a significant endorsement by a darling of the Tory right.

Rishi Sunak is facing pressure to launch an official inquiry into Suella Braverman (Photo: Getty Images)

What did Suella Braverman do?

Braverman left her role as Home Secretary in Truss’s government after she was caught sending veteran backbench Tory Sir John Hayes, a fellow right-winger, an official document from a personal email account.

She said she accidentally copied in someone she believed was Sir John’s wife, but was in fact an aide to Conservative MP Andrew Percy, who raised the alarm.

Braverman argued it was merely a draft written ministerial statement on immigration which had been due for publication imminently. Allies said she sent it after going on a 4am immigration raid before coming clean about her “mistake”.

However, officials said the file was sent much later and that the Cabinet papers had first been forwarded from her ministerial account to a private Gmail account before going elsewhere.

A No 10 source told the Sunday Times: “Concerns had been raised prior to Wednesday that Braverman might have been sharing restricted government documents with people she shouldn’t have.”

Braverman admitted she had made a “technical infringement” of the rules by sending an official document from a personal email and was taking responsibility.

She was forced out of the Cabinet prior to Truss’s downfall, making her then the shortest-serving Home Secretary in history.

Has Suella Braverman breached the ministerial code more than once?

Sir Jake, who left his role as party chairman on Tuesday, alleged there had been “multiple breaches” of the ministerial code by Braverman, which sets out how members of the government must behave or face punishment.

Speaking to TalkTV’s Piers Morgan Uncensored, he said: “From my own knowledge, there were multiple breaches of the ministerial code.”

Commenting on the official document Braverman sent to Percy from her personal email account, Sir Jake added: “It was sent from a private email address to another Member of Parliament. She then sought to copy in that individual’s wife and accidentally sent it to a staffer in Parliament.

“To me that seems a really serious breach, especially when it was documents relating to cybersecurity, as I believe.

“That seems a really serious breach. The Cabinet Secretary had his say at the time. I doubt he’s changed his mind in the last six days, but that’s a matter for the new Prime Minister.”

Braverman said she “rapidly reported” her “mistake” through official channels and informed Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, as soon as she realised it.

But Sir Jake said: “As I understand it, the evidence was put to her and she accepted the evidence, rather than the other way round.”

Labour has demanded that Case, who is reportedly “livid” over her swift return and “very concerned” about the breach, launch an investigation “into the extent of this and other possible security breaches”.

The Home Secretary is now in line for lessons from MI5 on what information she can and cannot share, according to The Times.

What has Rishi Sunak said?

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is facing pressure to launch an official inquiry into Braverman breaking the ministerial code by sharing a sensitive document with a Tory backbencher from a personal email.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said Sunak has accepted her apology for the “mistake” and argued that the PM wants an “experienced Home Secretary”, despite her having only lasted six weeks in the role under Truss.

Cleverly said the Home Secretary has apologised for the “mistake” and told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The Prime Minister has taken her apology and he has decided that what he wants is an experienced Home Secretary that has got recent – very, very recent – experience at the Home Office.”

In the Tory leadership contest, Braverman threw her support behind Sunak, in a significant endorsement from the right of the party, but Cleverly denied her return was the result of Sunak trying to buy her support.

He told Sky News: “He didn’t need any particular endorsements because it was so clear that the parliamentary party wanted him at the helm.”

Conservative Party chairman Nadhim Zahawi said Sunak is right to give Home Secretary Suella Braverman a “second chance” after facing criticism over his decision to reappoint her to the post just six days after she was forced to resign.

Zahawi told Sky News: “She admitted her mistake, she resigned. A new Prime Minister came in, looked at the information and decided that he wants to give her a second chance. It think that is the right decision. Redemption is a good thing.”

Braverman has returned as Home Secretary in Rishi Sunak’s government (Photo: PA)

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt also defended her re-appointment, but declined to say whether he trusts Braverman, with the leaked information in question said to have been market sensitive.

Hunt told broadcasters: “She apologised for her mistakes. She’s been fully accountable for those mistakes, she stepped down as Home Secretary.

“But from the point of view of people at home, who want stability in the economy, they also need to see a united Conservative Party and that’s why the Prime Minister has put together a Cabinet of all the talents.”

Meanwhile, Labour has demanded that the Cabinet Secretary launches an investigation “into the extent of this and other possible security breaches”.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper wrote to Case: “Given the Prime Minister’s decision to reappoint her to the Cabinet post overseeing national security, it is vital for the public to have transparency on what occurred.”

The Lib Dems also demanded an investigation into Sunak’s decision to reappoint her “including any promises Sunak made to her behind closed doors”.

Home affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael said: “If it is confirmed that Suella Braverman repeatedly broke the ministerial code and threatened national security, she must be sacked. A Home Secretary who broke the rules is not fit for a Home Office which keeps the rules.”