There are reports in Westminster that suggest further negative stories about the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, may soon emerge. In October, Braverman was forced to resign after she shared an official document from a personal email account, only to be reappointed by Rishi Sunak six days later. Labour has kept the issue alive in the House of Commons by trying to force the government to release security and risk assessments regarding her appointment. She was reportedly reinstalled in the role to increase Sunak’s support on the right of the party, but her position is causing problems for the Prime Minister. And that worsened yesterday.
In a bruising appearance in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Braverman struggled to provide an answer when asked what legal routes lay open to migrants fleeing persecution. The question from the Tory MP Tim Loughton quickly left the Home Secretary deferring to officials by her side. “We have failed to control our borders,” she said.
Asylum seekers were due to be sent to a “derelict” hotel, says @PaulaBarkerMP. Home Secretary Suella Braverman admits “I don’t know what happened there”.— The New Statesman (@NewStatesman) November 23, 2022
Read @HughSmiley1 on the Home Secretary’s difficult time being questioned by MPs.https://t.co/D4Fe6xvrZR pic.twitter.com/OtbYGtJClA
Her appearance won’t help the Conservatives’ reputation on immigration. The number of people who think the government is handling immigration badly has been steadily rising since 2021 and now stands at 82 per cent – seven points up from October. That figure includes those who want to see numbers reduced and those simply angry at the treatment of migrants. The government isn’t pleasing anyone.
But that doesn’t mean Sunak can get rid of Braverman. The reasons for Braverman’s appointment have not changed, and Sunak doesn’t seem to have the political capital for a cabinet reshuffle. He won’t want more disgruntled former ministers on the backbenches, not least when he has already been forced to concede to Tory rebels over planning reform. The government’s Braverman problem is here to stay.