Suella Braverman will not be sacked or investigated over speeding saga
Rishi Sunak said his Home Secretary has not breached any rules, ITV News' political correspondent Harry Horton reports. Words by Lewis Denison, ITV News Westminster Producer
Suella Braverman will not be sacked over her handling of a speeding ticket, nor will the prime minister launch an investigation into the controversy.
Rishi Sunak had been considering whether to order a probe by his standards adviser to look into whether the home secretary broke the ministerial code by asking officials for help after being caught speeding last year.
She has not denied asking civil servants and a personal adviser to help her get a one-to-one speed awareness course to avoid penalty points on her driving licence, rather than attend a group session in person along with other members of the public.
Confirming she would not be sacked, Mr Sunak wrote to the home secretary, telling her he is "reassured" she takes the matter seriously and satisfied she did not break the code.
"I have consulted with my Independent Adviser," he wrote, "he has advised that on this occasion further investigation is not necessary and I have accepted that advice.
"On the basis of your letter and our discussion, my decision is that these matters do not amount to a breach of the Ministerial Code."
He added: "As you have recognised, a better course of action could have been taken to avoid giving rise to the perception of impropriety.
"Nevertheless, I am reassured you take these matters seriously. You have provided a thorough account, apologised and expressed regret.
"It is vital that all those in government maintain the high standards the public rightly expects. I know you share this view."
In a letter to the PM, Ms Braverman said she “deeply regret(s)” that her actions may have given rise to the perception that she sought to avoid a speeding sanction, and that in hindsight she “would have chosen a different course of action” in her handling of the offence.
Explaining,, she said: “I sought to explore whether bespoke arrangements were possible, given my personal circumstances as a security-protected minister.
“I recognise how some people have construed this as me seeking to avoid sanction — at no point was that the intention or outcome."
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer joked about the controversy at Prime Minister's Questions.
“The prime minister stood on three Tory manifestos, each one promised to reduce immigration. Each promise broken. They (Conservative backbenchers) all stood on those manifestos as well.
“Why does he think his home secretary seems to have such a problem coping with points-based systems?”
Later at PMQs he asked Mr Sunak if he wished he had the strength to give Ms Braverman a career change.
The Liberal Democrats accused Mr Sunak of a "cowardly cop-out" for refusing to call a probe
Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said: "With every scandal, we see the prime minister dither, delay and flip-flop - never taking decisive action.
"This is not the leadership the country needs during such a severe cost-of-living crisis. Sunak is too weak to even order an investigation, let alone sack his home secretary.
"Sunak had the chance to do the right thing but instead he's once again chosen to be ruled by his own hardline backbenchers. He may be in office but he is barely in power."
The PM was said to be "still looking at all the requisite information" when considering a probe on Tuesday after Ms Braverman admitted speeding and paying a fine on Monday, while she did not deny asking for help finding a private speed awareness course.
He's now decided she can keep her job running the home office and will not ask independent adviser on ministerial standards Sir Laurie Magnus to investigate.
Labour accuses Sunak of dithering as Tories complain about 'moral outrage'
Labour had been pushing for an investigation and accused Mr Sunak of "dithering" on the decision for days.
Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner, after initiating a Commons debate on the issue, asked "how many strikes before she's out" and "when can we expect to know what the prime minister is thinking on this matter?"
But it was clear from the debate that backbench Tories did not share her feelings.
Conservative Sir Edward Leigh asked "what's wrong with this country?" adding that the "moral outrage is ludicrous".
"We used to have proper scandals about sex or money, or about prime ministers invading Iraq on dodgy evidence in which hundreds of thousands of people died," he told MPs.
Tory MP Miriam Cates said the Commons debate initiated by Labour was a "clear attempt to play the woman not the ball".
Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis (Stoke-on-Trent North) said voters were more interested in policies than the "witch-hunt from the party opposite", adding: "The Home Secretary has already taken accountability."
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