‘Serial offender’ Suella Braverman should be sacked for security leaks

Suella Braverman: Tories made 'calculation' says Osborne

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Suella Braverman has been accused by a former Home Office minister of being a “serial offender” who, after “six strikes”, should be removed from her cabinet position. Norman Baker, a former minister of state for home affairs, claimed the recent admissions by Ms Braverman that between September 6, when she was appointed by Liz Truss, and October 19, when she resigned as home secretary, she sent sensitive documents to her personal email constituted a “serious matter”. He called for Ms Braverman to be sacked and suggested she was on her way to not being “trusted by the security service” anymore. 

Mr Baker said: “It was made very clear to me and to other ministers when you were appointed that government business is kept in house and you do not convey information to external parties, including in your own party. 

“This is particularly important in the Home Office, which is, of course, a security department dealing with a whole range of sensitive issues. I cannot believe that Suella Braverman did not know that this was against the ministerial code. This is a very serious matter. 

“She is a serial offender, and to apply Home Office terminology, six strikes and you are out is how I think it should be with her. 

“I mean, she is totally the wrong person to be home secretary. This itself was an offence for which she was dismissed and yet Rishi Sunak has brought her back after six days. 

“You have to ask yourself, was Mr Sunak unaware of this matter, was he naive about it or was it some sort of grubby deal to get her support.” 

Asked if it was so early in her career in the home office when she broke the code that it might mean she was unaware of what she was doing, Mr Baker added: “I was given a security briefing on day one at the home office about what you can and cannot do. 

“We’ve got Alex Younger, the former head of MI6, in the papers today saying ministers need to take cybersecurity far more seriously. You know, we cannot have a situation where the home secretary is not trusted by the security services, which is where we seem to be going.” 

In a letter to the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee’s chairwoman Dame Diana Johnson, Ms Braverman has revealed a Home Office review had found she forwarded official documents to her personal email on six occasions, although she  insisted she had not sent them on to anyone outside the Government.

The revelation follows her controversial reappointment to the Home Office less than a week after she resigned for breaking the ministerial code by using her personal email to send a draft government statement to an ally. 

The home secretary set out details of the email blunder which led to her resignation under Liz Truss, revealing that although the message was sent at 7.25am it was hours later before she confessed to officials what had happened. She said she was “sorry for the errors of judgment”.  

Regarding the further six emails, Ms Braverman said that was on occasions when she was conducting meetings virtually or “related to public lines to take in interviews” when she would need to use her personal phone.

“None of the documents in question concerned national security, intelligence agency or cyber security matters, and did not pose any risk to national security,” she said.

Other than on October 19, “I have not used my personal email account to send official Home Office documents to other people outside of government”.

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She said she had apologised to Mr Sunak when she was reappointed as home secretary but the new prime minister is now under increasing pressure to remove her. 

The home secretary will also face MPs on Monday afternoon to explain the “car crash” decisions behind the chaos at a migrant holding centre.

Ms Braverman is expected to be questioned about the problems at the Manston site in Kent, which had become so overpopulated due to her refusal to allow people to leave that there were outbreaks of diphtheria and scabies, when she appears in the House of Commons later on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale described the overcrowding at the facility in his North Thanet constituency as “wholly unacceptable” and suggested it may have been allowed to happen “deliberately”.

Aides of former home secretary Priti Patel have said today that they had always made sure the Manston centre was never overcrowded, claiming that they would immediately “sign off on more hotels” when the situation became precarious because “it was the right thing to do”. 

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