'You have failed': Braverman accuses Sunak of 'betrayal' in stinging attack

'Betrayal,' 'weakness' and 'wishful thinking' were the words used by Suella Braverman as she launched a three-page assault on the PM after her sacking as home secretary

By Lewis Denison, Westminster Producer

Suella Braverman has accused Rishi Sunak of "betrayal" in a stinging attack following her sacking as home secretary.

The senior right wing Tory - tipped as a future replacement for Mr Sunak - said the PM had “manifestly and repeatedly failed to deliver” on key policies.

In a resignation letter, she said his “distinctive style of government means you are incapable" of achieving his priorities, particularly his pledge to stop small boat crossings.

Mrs Braverman urged the PM to “change course urgently”, telling him he has led the Conservatives to “record election defeats” and that his “resets have failed and we are running out of time”.

Number 10 responded to say the prime minister remains focused on stopping the boats and believes in "believes in actions not words".

It comes amid a right-wing rebellion which has been growing in her party following a major reshuffle in which she lost her Cabinet job.

What else did Mrs Braverman say?

The outspoken former minister claimed the PM “never had any intention” of keeping key promises.

In her resignation letter to the prime minister, the former home secretary said: “You have manifestly and repeatedly failed to deliver on every single one of these key policies.

“Either your distinctive style of government means you are incapable of doing so. Or, as I must surely conclude now, you never had any intention of keeping your promises.”

She also alluded to a deal struck during the leadership contest that saw him become prime minister when his opponents dropped out.

She said she agreed to come back as home secretary – having been forced out by Liz Truss – on “certain conditions” agreed on reducing legal migration and taking action on the European Convention on Human Rights’ effect on small boats legislation.

“This was a document with clear terms to which you agreed in October 2022 during your second leadership campaign,” she wrote.

“I trusted you. It is generally agreed that my support was a pivotal factor in winning the leadership contest and thus enabling you to become prime minister.”

She added: “For a year, as home secretary, I have sent numerous letters to you on the key subjects contained in our agreement, made requests to discuss them with you and your team, and put forward proposals on how we might deliver these goals.

“I worked up the legal advice, policy detail and action to take on these issues. This was often met with equivocation, disregard and a lack of interest.”

The Liberal Democrats said it appeared Mrs Braverman wanted to "drag everyone else down with her" by writing the letter.

“While people struggle to see their GP or pay their mortgages, this government is too busy dealing with their own infighting," said Alistair Carmichael MP.

“When will this Conservative Party soap opera end?”

'The PM believes in actions, not words': Rishi Sunak responds

Responding to the home secretary's letter, Number 10 said the prime minister will remain focused on his pledge to stop the boats, regardless of whether the Rwanda deportation plan is blocked by the Supreme Court in a ruling on Wednesday.

A No 10 spokeswoman said: “The prime minister was proud to appoint a strong, united team yesterday focused on delivering for the British people.

“The prime minister believes in actions not words. He is proud that this government has brought forward the toughest legislation to tackle illegal migration this country has seen and has subsequently reduced the number of boat crossings by a third this year.

"And whatever the outcome of the Supreme Court tomorrow, he will continue that work.

“The PM thanks the former home secretary for her service.”

Right-wing rebellion grows in Conservative Party

At least one letter of no confidence in the prime minister has already been submitted in response to the removal of Mrs Braverman from government and several backbenchers are dismayed by a perceived shift to the centre by Mr Sunak.

Former minister Dame Andrea Jenkyns, a Boris Johnson loyalist, urged her Conservative colleagues to help her get rid of Prime Minister Sunak through a vote of no confidence, while ally Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg suggested the reshuffle would benefit the right-wing Reform Party.

MPs Danny Kruger and Miriam Cates also railed against the reshuffle, saying the party "now looks like it is deliberately walking away" from voters who backed it at the next general election.

The pair are the leaders of the New Conservatives, a group of around 25 MPs who want the government to focus on migration, law and order.

A letter, signed by the pair and written on behalf of the group, said: "It appears the leadership has decided to abandon the voters who switched to us last time, sacrificing the seats we won from Labour in 2019 in the hope of shoring up support elsewhere."

Meanwhile, hardline Tory MPs including deputy chairman Lee Anderson met on Monday evening to discuss Ms Braverman's ousting, which was sparked by her criticism of the way police had been handing pro-Palestinian protests in London.

Mr Sunak sought to appease those in the right of his party by appointing former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey to Cabinet as a minister without portfolio but it is not clear that will be enough to replace their talisman Mrs Braverman.

The PM has appointed the team he hopes will drive him toward a general election victory next year but many have suggested his decision to sack Mrs Braverman puts her in prime position to take over if he loses.

Mrs Braverman, who was leading the government's plan to “stop the boats” crossing the Channel could pile further pressure onto Mr Sunak by championing leaving the European Court of Human Rights if the government loses the appeal.

Suella Braverman will return to the backbenches but could cause trouble for Rishi Sunak. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

Conservative former Cabinet minister Sir Jacob said the reshuffle would not help win the Tories the next election, telling BBC Newsnight: “The Champagne will be flowing in the Reform party headquarters tonight after what’s been done today.”

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Sir Jacob said Mrs Braverman was “sacked for being right” and accused the prime minister of being “too effete to care enough about key issues, like tackling immigration, that voters mind about so much”.

Senior Tory Lord Frost, the former chief Brexit negotiator, issued a stinging response to the reshuffle, saying "voters deserve better".

In a Telegraph article, he wrote: "It’s back to the past: a world in which Brexit may have happened legally but not in the mindset of those who rule us; a world of social liberalism."

“Voters deserve better than a return to a failed pre-Brexit past.”

In her letter to 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady, Dame Andrea said that “enough is enough”.

“If it wasn’t bad enough that we have a party leader that the party members rejected, the polls demonstrate that the public reject him, and I am in full agreement. It is time for Rishi Sunak to go."

She said that forcing ex-PM Mr Johnson out was “unforgivable enough”, but “to purge the centre-right from his cabinet and then sack Suella who was the only person in the cabinet with the balls to speak the truth of the appalling state of our streets and a two-tier policing system that leaves Jewish community in fear for their lives and safety.”

Dame Andrea said she submitted her no confidence letter in Mr Sunak “to stand up and fight for true Conservatism”.

'Let's get to work': Sunak had hoped to move on from reshuffle when addressing new Cabinet on Tuesday morning

Addressing his new-look team on Tuesday morning, the PM said: “Looking around this table, I know that we have an energetic and enthusiastic team that is going to deliver for the country.

“So, let’s get to work.”

He told his Cabinet on that "this strong and united team is going to deliver that change for everybody".

"I’m confident that we can demonstrate to the country that we are making progress on the priorities that I set out at the beginning of the year – to halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, cut waiting lists and to stop the boats," he added.

Lord Cameron - his new title after being given a peerage so he could attend Cabinet - was back around the table on Tuesday for the first time since he stood down as prime minister and quit as an MP after losing the Brexit referendum in 2016.

Labour criticised his appointment, with his opposite number, Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy saying Mr Sunak had "resurrected yesterday's failure".

The ex-PM admitted such a return is “not usual” but said he wants to support Mr Sunak through a “difficult job at a hard time”.

James Cleverly was appointed home secretary as he was moved from the Foreign Office to make way for Mr Cameron, while promotions included Victoria Atkins to Health Secretary and Laura Trott to Treasury Chief Secretary.

In another sign Mr Sunak is looking ahead to the election, Richard Holden replaced Greg Hands as Conservative Party chairman following a string of by-election losses and a mauling in council contests during his nine months in charge.

Rishi Sunak's Cabinet reshuffle in full:

  • James Cleverly made home secretary - the former foreign secretary has been promoted to replace Suella Braverman

  • David Cameron becomes foreign secretary - the former prime minister has replaced James Cleverly as foreign secretary in a highly unusual move by Mr Sunak

  • Jeremy Hunt stays chancellor - despite speculation he would be sacked as chancellor in a reshuffle, the senior minister has kept his job

  • Victoria Atkins promoted to health secretary - the former financial secretary to the Treasury has replaced Steve Barclay at the Department of Health and Social Care

  • Steve Barclay appointed environment secretary - the former health secretary has replaced Therese Coffey

  • Therese Coffey - the long-standing minister has left her role as environment secretary

  • Esther McVey appointed minister without portfolio within the Cabinet Office - the former minister will speak "common sense" on social issues for the government, according to ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston

  • Paul Scully - has lost his position as minister for London and minister for tech and the digital economy

  • Richard Holden - Greg Hands has left his role as Conservative Party chairman to make way for Mr Holden

  • Greg Hands - the former party chairman has been demoted to become a business minister

  • Laura Trott - the former work and pensions minister has been promoted to Treasury chief secretary

  • Nick Gibb - MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton resigned as schools minister and announced he will not stand at next election

  • Neil O'Brien - Harborough MP stood down as a care minister as the reshuffle was confirmed

  • Will Quince - Colchester MP Mr Quince said he was standing down as a health minister to focus on other things ahead of leaving Parliament at the next election

  • Jesse Norman - the MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, said he has quit as a minister in the Department for Transport

  • Rachel Maclean - said she was asked to step down from her role as housing minister. She was the 15th person to hold that position since 2010

  • Jeremy Quin - the MP for Horsham resigned as paymaster general despite being assured by the PM that he could remain in government

  • John Glen - the former chief secretary to the Treasury has been demoted to paymaster general

  • George Freeman - the MP for Mid Norfolk has stood down as a science minister after telling the PM in summer he would leave government at the next reshuffle

  • Steve Double - resigned as a government whip saying he had informed the chief whip of his decision in September

  • Andrea Leadsom - assigned as parliamentary under secretary for health and social care

  • Stuart Anderson - to be vice chamberlain of HM Household (government whip)

  • Amanda Milling - to be a government whip (lord commissioner of HM Treasury)

  • Joy Morrissey - to be a government whip (lord commissioner of HM Treasury)

  • Mike Wood - to be a government whip (lord commissioner of HM Treasury)

  • Aaron Bell - to be an assistant government whip

  • Mark Fletcher - to be an assistant government whip

  • Mark Jenkinson - to be an assistant government whip

  • Suzanne Webb - to be an assistant government whip

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