Who is Suella Braverman? Home Secretary denies her small boats plan breaks the law
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has denied that the Government’s contentious “small boats” plan breaks human rights laws.
The new immigration proposals will involve asylum seekers arriving in the UK via small boats being detained and deported.
The Guardian has reported that Ms Braverman had previously told Conservatives there was a more than 50 per cent chance the plans may be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. Ms Braverman denies she did this.
She and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak say they believe the disputed plans will deter people from crossing the Channel. However, it is not yet clear how people will be detained, where they will be detained, or when asylum seekers will be able to be deported to Rwanda.
The UN refugee agency, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said it was “profoundly concerned” by the proposal to criminalise and deport vulnerable people. It said it would be a “clear breach of the refugee convention”.
But Ms Braverman told Sky News: “We’re not breaking the law, and no government representative has said that we’re breaking the law. In fact, we’ve made it very clear that we believe we’re in compliance with all of our international obligations, for example the refugee convention, the European Convention on Human Rights, other conventions to which we are subject.”
Ms Braverman has previously said that “too many low-skilled workers” are coming to the UK.
Before October’s Conservative Party Conference, Ms Braverman told the Sun on Sunday that the Government still aimed to lower net migration.
She said: “What we’ve got is too many low-skilled workers coming into this country.
“We’ve also got a very high number of students coming into this country and we’ve got a really high number of dependents.”
But who is Suella Braverman and what are her views?
Who is Suella Braverman?
Suella Braverman, 42, was born Sue-Ellen Fernandes, to parents Christie and Uma Fernandes, who are from Kenya and Mauritius. They emigrated to the UK in the 1960s and Ms Braverman was born in Harrow.
Before the Tory leadership contest in the summer, Ms Braverman told ITV: “I love this country, my parents came here with absolutely nothing and it was Britain that gave them hope, security, and opportunity. This country has afforded me incredible opportunities in education and in my career.
“I owe a debt of gratitude to this country and to serve as PM would be the greatest honour, so yes, I will try.”
She attended Heathfield School in London before studying law at Queens’ College, Cambridge. She later gained a Master’s degree in law from the University of Paris 1, Pantheon-Sorbonne, and then qualified as a New York attorney.
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She specialised in public law and judicial review. She has also defended the Home Office in immigration cases, the Parole Board in challenges by prisoners, and the Ministry of Defence in matters relating to injuries sustained in battle.
Appointed Attorney General in 2020, Ms Braverman served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union from January to November 2018. She was elected as the Conservative MP for Fareham in May 2015.
In February 2018, she married Rael Braverman at the House of Commons. They had their first child in 2019 and their second child in 2021.
In July 2022, she called for Boris Johnson to resign following several Government scandals such as Partygate. She stood in the ensuing Tory Party leadership election, but was eliminated from the race in the second round of ballots, winning 27 votes. This was a reduction on her vote in the first round and the lowest of the remaining candidates.
She then endorsed Liz Truss as prime minister.
She replaced Priti Pratel as home secretary in September 2022 after Ms Truss became prime minister.
What are her views?
Ms Braverman is a hard Brexiteer and recently said she had “significant reservations about our relationship with the European Court of Human Rights“. This followed the European court’s decision to effectively ground the first flight to send asylum seekers out of the UK.
Ms Braverman has previously said schools do not have to accommodate transgender pupils. She said schools did not have to use trans pupils’ chosen names or pronouns or let them wear a uniform that aligns with their gender identity.
When four people were last year cleared of tearing down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, Ms Braverman came under fire for saying she was considering whether to refer the case to the Court of Appeal.