Rishi Sunak is under pressure to investigate whether his home secretary, Suella Braverman, violated the ministerial code when she handled a speeding ticket.
Braverman was detected speeding last year and was given the option of paying a fine and accepting three points on her licence. Completing a speed awareness course, as is commonly the case with minor speeding crimes.
Sunak’s spokesman stated on Monday that the Prime Minister “wants to avail himself of all information before making a decision.”
“He has spoken to the Home Secretary about this,” he added, “but I’m not going to go into the details of that conversation.” I’m not going to pre-empt it by stating his position before he’s done.”
The problem occurred when Braverman allegedly sought civil workers to organise a private course for her. But she was told it was not within the scope of the civil service. She allegedly afterwards asked a special consultant to arrange a course for just her. She was told there was no option, so she chose to pay the fine and take the points.
On Monday, Braverman stated that she had no intention of resigning, claiming that her handling of the infraction was “not untoward.”
Critics are now pushing for an investigation into whether her conduct violated the ministerial code. Which specifies that ministers must maintain the impartiality of public officials.
What does mean breaking the ministerial code?
Braverman looked to have made a “real lapse in judgement,” according to a former senior civil official on BBC Radio 4.
“Obviously, there is still work to be done, but the code is very clear.” “Ministers must ensure that there is no conflict between their public duties and their private interests,” Sir Philip Rycroft remarked.
“Asking a civil servant how she might go on one of these courses puts them in an impossible situation.”
“Ministers must uphold the political impartiality of the Civil Service. And not ask civil servants to act in any way that would conflict with the Civil Service Code. The requirements of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010,” according to the ministerial code.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told BBC Breakfast that it appears Braverman took “inappropriate action” that “needs to be thoroughly investigated.”
“The usual consequence of breaking the ministerial code is that you’ll go,” he explained.
If Braverman is found to have violated the ministerial code, she may be required to resign or stand down. However, new restrictions instituted by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson imply that such a punishment is not automatic.
According to the ministerial code, the prime minister may request an investigation from the cabinet office or send the matter to the independent adviser on ministers’ interests. However, if sanctions were proposed, the prime minister would make the final decision.
Braverman is believed to have visited Downing Street on Monday for a regular discussion on illegal immigration. But no details of her meeting with the Prime Minister have been revealed by Number 10.