Advertisement

'She has to go': Why Labour is calling for Suella Braverman to be fired

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 26: Secretary of State for the Home Department Suella Braverman arrives in Downing Street to attend the first cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London, United Kingdom on October 26, 2022. (Photo by Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Suealla Braverman was reappointed as home secretary six days after being forced to resign (Getty Images)

Rishi Sunak is facing his first major political crisis as prime minister as questions grow over whether his home secretary is up to the job.

Suella Braverman is currently weathering two scandals, one being her failure to prevent dangerous overcrowding at the Manston asylum centre in Kent.

The other concerns revelations that she sent official government documents to her personal phone six times in less than two months before resigning as home secretary.

In one instance, Braverman accidentally sent a sensitive document to an MP's staff member, in breach of the ministerial code.

As a result she stood down from the cabinet on 19 October while serving under Liz Truss, but was controversially reinstated six days later when Sunak took over as PM.

The Labour party is now accusing the new prime minister of “weakness” after bringing Braverman back despite the security breach, and for failing to deal with her latest scandal.

MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth Debbie Abrahams tweeted: “The home secretary admits to using her personal email address to send official government documents six times.

“Against ministerial code, potentially risking national security. She has to go.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks with members of the media as he visits Croydon University hospital on October 28, 2022 in London, England. The Prime Minister is reported to be reviewing proposals for next month’s autumn statement, in a bid to raise up to £50 billion a year through a combination of spending cuts and tax rises. (Photo by Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prime minister Rishi Sunak is being questioned over his judgement after reappointing Braverman to his cabinet. (Getty Images)

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said there were “serious questions” about Braverman’s conduct and that Sunak was “irresponsible in reappointing her”.

Yahoo News UK looks at the scandals facing the home secretary:

Crisis at Manston migrant holding centre

Braverman is facing intense scrutiny over "catastrophic overcrowding" at the UK's main processing centre for migrants who have crossed the Channel in small boats.

The facility near Thanet, Kent, is now thought to house around 4,000 people, despite only being designed for 1,600.

A view of the Manston immigration short-term holding facility located at the former Defence Fire Training and Development Centre in Thanet, Kent. 700 people were moved to the Manston facility for safety reasons after incendiary devices were thrown at a Border Force migrant centre in Dover on Sunday. Picture date: Monday October 31, 2022.
Manston immigration short-term holding facility is now dangerously overcrowded. (PA)

It was opened in January and was only supposed to be a short-term facility, where people would be held for 24 hours before being processed by Border Force and moved to temporary accommodation.

The site has become overwhelmed amid a record number of crossings this year, with nearly 40,000 making the perilous trip from France this year.

It is now dangerously overcrowded and is becoming an hotbed for infections, with at least eight cases of diphtheria, and a case of MRSA, confirmed among detainees.

Read more: Gove insists ‘robust protocols’ in place amid reports of Truss phone hack

Reports have emerged that Braverman directly contributed to the worsening situation by refusing to sign off measures to find alternative accommodation, despite being warned that doing so could be illegal.

Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale, who visited the site in his constituency, described conditions as “wholly unacceptable” and suggested the crisis may have been allowed to happen “deliberately”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Sir Roger said: “There are simply far too many people and this situation should never have been allowed to develop, and I’m not sure that it hasn’t almost been developed deliberately.”

Read more: Sunak’s Judgment Over Braverman Questioned by Ousted Party Chief

Fresh questions over leaked emails

Braverman is facing further criticism over the use of her personal email address to conduct government business, which opposition MPs argue poses a national security risk.

The home secretary resigned from Liz Truss's government over the issue after it emerged she sent a draft government statement to an ally, as well as sending it to a member of another MP's staff by accident.

On Monday, Braverman said she was “sorry for the errors of judgment” and revealed she had sent further documents from her government account to her personal gmail.

In her explanation, she revealed the message that led to her resignation sent at 7.25am, it was hours later before she confessed to officials what had happened.

Suella Braverman who has been appointed as Home Secretary in Downing Street, London, by Rishi Sunak in his first Cabinet as Prime Minister. Picture date: Tuesday October 25, 2022.
Braverman's insistance that she came forward immediately following her first breach is now under question. (Getty)

Some Tories, including Jake Berry — who was party chairman at the time — suggested there were further questions about her conduct.

He suggested that Braverman had not come clean about her error herself and was instead confronted by officials.

Read more: Asylum seekers should be held on cruise ship in the Channel, former immigration chief says

“As I understand it, the evidence was put to her and she accepted the evidence, rather than the other way round,” he said.

The home secretary said she had been given a “fulsome and detailed security briefing by officials” on appropriate use of Government and personal IT.

On Monday, the prime minister's official spokesperson insisted Sunak had "full confidence" in Braverman.