Braverman refuses to rule out backing leadership challenge to Sunak


Suella Braverman has refused to rule out backing an attempt to oust Rishi Sunak if his Rwanda plan fails.

The former home secretary said she “fully expects” Mr Sunak to lead the Conservative Party into the next general election, but would not be drawn on whether she would back a leadership challenge against him.

Asked whether she would support a challenge between now and the election, Mrs Braverman told the BBC: “As I said, I just don’t think that is going to happen.”

Told that was not a “no”, she said: “The Prime Minister is going to, I am sure, lead us into the next general election. I have a lot of concerns about the path that he is taking.”

Asked again whether she would support a challenge to his leadership, she said: “I have been urging him to change course, repeatedly. I believe we are not providing policies or solutions that the British people are supporting, and unfortunately every poll we look at at the moment suggests that we are heading for defeat.”

Mrs Braverman said she believed Mr Sunak’s Rwanda Bill was “fatally flawed” and would not result in regular migrant deportation flights taking off.

Mr Sunak held a press conference in Downing Street on Monday to urge the House of Lords to stop blocking the Bill ahead of crunch votes later in the day.

But Mrs Braverman said she believed the Bill “has too many loopholes” and did not think it would achieve Mr Sunak’s stated goal of stopping the boats.

Asked about her reasons for opposing the Government’s direction, Mrs Braverman said: “I’m a Conservative member of Parliament. My job is to stand up for the British people and the people who sent me to Parliament to speak honestly, and from a place of wanting us to win the next general election.

“That’s why I believe we should be leaving the European Convention on Human Rights, that’s why I believe that we need to be imposing a cap on overall legal migration numbers. That’s why I believe we need a more robust approach to policing and law and order and taxation.

“I’ve been calling for all of those things, which is my right to do so as a Conservative backbencher.”

There has been speculation about possible Tory leadership challenges since the beginning of the year, with Mrs Braverman often cited as a possible contender.

The former home secretary was sacked in November, with Mr Sunak saying he wanted a “united team to deliver the changes this country needs for the long term”.