Rishi Sunak to consult independent ethics advisor over Suella Braverman
The Prime Minister will consult his independent ethics adviser over the revelation that the Home Secretary asked civil servants to help her with a speeding fine.
Rishi Sunak will consult his adviser, Sir Laurie Magnus, on Monday after he returns from the G7 summit in Japan.
On Sunday, the Prime Minister declined to say whether he would be ordering an inquiry when questioned at the Japanese summit.
Suella Braverman, 43, was caught speeding last summer and is said to have asked civil servants to help her arrange a one-on-one driving awareness course.
The one-to-one session would have allowed her to avoid the three penalty points on her license and avoid being spotted by other motorists on a group course after breaching the limit in a 50mph zone last summer.
Former Conservative Party chairman Sir Jake Berry earlier warned Ms Braverman that she had a case to answer.
Suella Braverman , 43, was caught speeding last summer and is said to have asked civil servants to help her arrange a one-on-one driving awareness course
Rishi Sunak will consult his adviser after he returns from the G7 summit in Japan (pictured on May 21)
It is understood that after the officials refused to co-operate – on the grounds that Civil Service rules prevented them from dealing with personal matters – a political aide then contacted the course provider instead, but was unsuccessful in arranging a course.
The Home Secretary later accepted the points and a fine.
Sir Jake, a former minister, highlighted the fact that several high-profile public figures had recently accepted points and fines for speeding, including The Archbishop of Canterbury, Manchester City Region mayor Andy Burnham, and ministers Robert Jenrick and Tom Tugendhat.
He told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg: ‘You shouldn’t do it in the first place but if you do get caught, you just take the medicine.’
Sir Jake said he did not know whether Mrs Braverman had breached the ministerial code as he did not have enough information on the case.
It came as Rishi Sunak refused to back the Home Secretary amid calls from opposition parties for an official inquiry. Ms Braverman is set to face questions in the Commons tomorrow.
Mr Sunak declined to answer multiple questions about Ms Braverman, who was caught exceeding the limit last summer when she was Attorney General, at a G7 press conference in Japan.
Suella Braverman received a speeding fine and then asked civil servants to help arrange a private driving awareness course to avoid points on her licence
Asked whether he had full confidence in Ms Braverman at a press conference at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Mr Sunak said he did not know the ‘full details’ and has not spoken to her yet.
Sir Jake, a former minister, highlighted the fact that several high-profile public figures had recently accepted points and fines for speeding
He expressed his frustration at being asked whether he would ask his ethics adviser Sir Laurie Magnus to investigate the claims.
‘Did you have any questions about the summit?’ he asked, before being further quizzed on Ms Braverman at a press conference in Hiroshima.
Asked whether he had full confidence in Ms Braverman, Mr Sunak said he did not know the ‘full details’ and has not spoken to her yet.
But he noted she had ‘expressed regret’ for speeding. A No10 spokeswoman later insisted that he did have full confidence in her.
One option being pursued by Ms Braverman was for her to join a virtual group, but with her camera turned off – against the usual rules which require attendees to be in view for the full duration of the session. After the request was refused, Ms Braverman opted to take the points and pay the fine for going just over the limit in a 50mph zone.
Last night, some colleagues accused her of trying to avoid the negative publicity that the case would have attracted.
A source said: ‘It looks like her first instinct was an attempt to cover up the fact that she had a speeding fine.’
Other sources said Ms Braverman opted to take the points because she was ‘too busy’ to do the course in her new role. They said that she was also concerned about her insurance premium going up as a result of taking the points.
A source close to the Home Secretary said: ‘Ms Braverman accepted three points for a speeding offence which took place last summer. The Cabinet Office were notified of this, as requested by Ms Braverman. She was not and is not disqualified from driving.’
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: ‘As Home Secretary Suella Braverman is responsible for upholding the law, yet this report suggests she tried to abuse her position to get round the normal rules, so it is one rule for her and another for everyone else.’
She becomes the third Home Office Minister in recent months to have committed a driving offence.
Last month, Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick was handed a six-month driving ban and a fine after being caught speeding on the M1 while Security Minister Tom Tugendhat was last year banned for six months after pleading guilty to using his phone while driving.
The Home Office is responsible for the police, speeding offences and penalty notices.