Suella Braverman: 'Nothing untoward happened' with my speeding ticket

"I paid the fine and I took the points," Suella Braverman insists after questions over her response to speeding ticket. Watch ITV News political reporter Harry Horton's report

The Home Secretary has said "nothing untoward happened" while dealing with a speeding ticket fine after questions arose over claims she asked civil servants to help her to arrange a private speed awareness course to avoid points on her licence.

"I was speeding, I regret that. I paid the fine and I took the points," she said on Monday, before repeatedly dodging questions to insist on "delivering for the British people."

When pushed again, she said: "What I will say is in my view I am confident that nothing untoward has happened."

Ms Braverman responded "I'm here to stop the boats" when asked if she was going to resign while walking into No 10 on Monday.

The Prime Minister continues to have confidence in the Home Secretary, Downing Street said, after confirming Rishi Sunak has consulted his ethics advisor Sir Laurie Magnus.

They added Mr Sunak was "availing himself of information" about the situation, though it is understood no formal inquiry has yet been launched into whether Ms Braverman breached the ministerial code.

Downing Street said Mr Sunak believes that “integrity, professionalism and accountability are core values”.

The spokesman said “of course” special advisers should tell the truth to journalists following reports an aide to Suella Braverman denied the Home Secretary had been caught speeding when contacted by the Daily Mirror.

The spokesman would not confirm whether Mr Sunak had spoken to the Home Secretary on Monday.

It is understood no formal inquiry has yet been launched into whether Ms Braverman breached the ministerial code. Credit: PA

“I obviously wouldn’t get into specific conversations but the Prime Minister, as you would expect, is in regular conversation with the Home Secretary.”

Asked if Mr Sunak still had confidence in her, the spokesman said: “Yes, he and the Home Secretary continue to work closely on the public’s priorities, not least tackling illegal immigration.”

Mr Sunak has already faced questions about the Home Secretary’s handling of her speeding ticket during his visit to Japan for the G7 leaders’ meeting.

Ethics tsar Sir Laurie cannot begin an investigation into a minister’s conduct without Mr Sunak, who came back from Asia on Monday, signing-off on an inquiry.

The Conservative Party leader is also expected to speak to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case following suggestions it was the Cabinet Office that ordered Home Office officials not to offer Mrs Braverman advice on securing a private course.

Mrs Braverman may face a grilling about her response to being caught speeding during visits on Monday morning and then again in the House of Commons during Home Office questions.

Opposition MPs could apply to Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle for an urgent question on the matter as well.

The leader of the opposition called Ms Braverman's behaviour "inappropriate" and called for an immediate investigation.

"I don't know all the facts but it looks to me as though the Home Secretary's actions were inappropriate and they should be investigated," Sir Keir Starmer told ITV's Good Morning Britain on Monday.

"I think the Prime Minister has said that he wants to meet his ethics adviser today, well he should - in my view he should say to his ethics advisor, 'You need to fully investigate this.'

"It looks like she's been asking civil servants to do something they shouldn't be doing."

His party has urged Mr Sunak to “show some backbone” and commission an investigation “without delay” into the claims facing his Home Secretary.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner, in a letter to Mr Sunak, said his independent adviser should probe whether Mrs Braverman asked civil servants to help her enlist in a private driving course as she reportedly looked to avoid incurring points on her driving licence.

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The senior Opposition MP said that, if the Cabinet minister had done so, it may amount to a breach of the ministerial code.

She said the code laid out that ministers must uphold the political impartiality of the Civil Service and not ask officials to act in any way which would conflict with the Civil Service Code.

The code by which civil servants must abide states that public servants must not “misuse” their position to “further private interests or those of others”.

Ms Rayner said: “Members of the Cabinet are subject to the same laws as the rest of us, and any attempt to direct civil servants to obtain special treatment in this matter would clearly amount to an unacceptable abuse of power and privilege by the Home Secretary.”

It comes as a former senior civil servant said he thought Mrs Braverman appeared to have put civil servants in an “impossible situation”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been urged to order an investigation into the claims. Credit: PA

Philip Ryecroft, formerly the permanent secretary at the now-defunct Department for Exiting the European Union, told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour programme: “This on the face of it I think is a breach of the ministerial code.

“Obviously, there’s still investigations to be done and so on but the code is very clear. Ministers must ensure that no conflict arises or appears to arise between their public duties and their private interests.

“Even asking a question of a civil servant as to how she might go on one of these courses puts them in an impossible position.”

Mrs Braverman resigned on October 19 as home secretary after sharing a sensitive document with a Tory backbencher from a personal email without permission.

She was reappointed home secretary by Mr Sunak only six days later when he entered No 10.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has written to the Prime Minister urging him to order an inquiry into Suella Braverman Credit: James Manning/PA

It was at this point that she decided to drop her pursuit of a driving awareness course, instead taking the points, the Sunday Times reported.

According to the newspaper, Mrs Braverman asked Home Office civil servants to help organise a one-to-one driving awareness course as she was keen not to have to accept three points on her licence for a speeding offence.

Officials are said to have refused the request, so Mrs Braverman allegedly turned to a political aide to assist her in attempting to arrange an alternative to having to attend a course with other motorists, according to the newspaper's report.

A spokesman for the Home Secretary said she regretted speeding and had since accepted the points and paid the fine.

The speeding offence reportedly took place on a road outside London last year when Mrs Braverman was serving as attorney general.

But The Sunday Times, which first reported the story, said it was not until she became Home Secretary during Liz Truss’ brief premiership that the senior Tory called on the Civil Service for advice.

According to the government’s website, a motorist can be banned from driving if they have 12 or more penalty points on their licence.

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