The reappointment of Suella Braverman as Home Secretary after she broke ministerial rules sets a “dangerous precedent”, a committee of MPs has warned.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has resisted calls for an inquiry into Ms Braverman sharing a sensitive document with a Tory backbencher from a personal email without permission.
She was sacked from her role under Liz Truss, and was given the job back six days later when Mr Sunak became PM.
Ms Braverman also admitted to sending government documents to her personal email address on six occasions.
While she insisted none of the documents were classified as secret or top secret and “did not pose any risk to national safety”, this still amounted to a security breach.
A new report by the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee said the leaking of restricted material would be worthy of "significant sanction" under new rules introduced by Boris Johnson in May.
Members said a new prime minister should not be able to simply "wipe the slate clean" when it comes to appointing ministers who have broken the rules.
The committee recommended expanding business appointment rules governing what employment ministers and senior officials can take after leaving government and making them legally enforceable, as a "sufficient deterrent" for proper conduct.
Chairman, Tory MP William Wragg, said: “It is incumbent on the government to ensure a robust and effective system for upholding standards in public life is put in place, with proper sanctions for those who break the rules.
“Our inquiry has found that although we have a sophisticated landscape of ethics watchdogs in the UK to safeguard standards in public life, they lack the power to enforce the rules.
“The prime minister is rightly the ultimate arbiter of the rules in our system. We urge him to show leadership and give legal status to all the ethics watchdogs.
“This will provide a better deterrent for those who may be tempted to act improperly, and further safeguard the integrity of our public life.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has demanded the Home Secretary’s sacking, accusing Mr Sunak of brokering a “grubby deal trading security for support” in the Tory leadership contest, which he won after receiving Ms Braverman’s backing.
But the Prime Minister has insisted Ms Braverman has “learned from her mistake” and that he does not regret the appointment despite some Conservative MPs adding their voices to the backlash.
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