Suella Braverman Braces For Toughest Week Of Her Political Career
Suella Braverman meets police recruits during a visit to Northamptonshire Police's Giffard House Training Centre, in Northampton, last month.
Suella Braverman has had a bad weekend - but the next few days are set to be even worse.
The home secretary has been keeping a low profile today after the Sunday Times revealed she had asked civil servants to help her avoid a fine for speeding last summer.
Braverman wanted to arrange a private speeding awareness course but, after that proved impossible, she accepted the fine as well as three penalty points on her licence.
Awkwardly, the first Rishi Sunak knew about it was when the story was about to be published.
HuffPost UK understands that although the speeding offence took place when she was still attorney general, Braverman didn’t accept the fine until after Sunak had re-appointed her to the role of home secretary in October.
The PM’s frustration was obvious this morning, when the controversy dominated his press conference marking the end of the G7 summit in Japan.
Asked by the BBC’s Chris Mason if he retained “full confidence” in his cabinet colleague, a grim-faced Sunak replied: ”Well Chris I don’t know the full details about what has happened, nor have I spoken to the home secretary. I think you can see first hand what I’ve been doing over the last day or so.
“But I understand that she’s expressed regret for speeding, accepted the penalty and paid the fine.”
When he returns from the G7 on Monday, the PM will hold talks with Sir Laurie Magnus, his independent ethics adviser, about the Braverman controversy.
Both Labour and the Lib Dems say Sunak must order Sir Laurie to conduct a full inquiry to uncover all the facts.
More immediately, Braverman will have to face the music in the House of Commons at Home Office questions on Monday afternoon.
But that is not the only ordeal the embattled home secretary faces in the coming days.
On Thursday, official figures will confirm that net migration is approaching one million - well above the “tens of thousands” Braverman has said she wants to get it down to.
She - and Sunak - will come under severe pressure from Tory MPs to set out exactly how they plan to reverse the current immigration trend.
Despite the latest controversy surrounding Braverman - she had to quit as home secretary under Liz Truss after breaking security rules, only to be given her job back by Sunak just days later - her position remains safe for now.
One senior Tory source said: “If she was sacked, she would just team up with the other disaffected people and cause the prime minister more trouble. Sometimes it’s best to keep them inside the tent.”
Nevertheless, the week ahead will be the toughest of Braverman’s career. How she handles it will tell us a lot about what kind of future she has in British politics.