PM urged to probe claims Braverman asked aides to help her avoid speeding points

·5 min read

The Prime Minister is being urged to order an investigation following claims the Home Secretary asked civil servants to help her avoid incurring points on her licence for speeding.

Suella Braverman allegedly requested that Home Office aides help organise a one-to-one driving awareness course after she was caught speeding last summer as she looked to swerve accepting points on her licence.

According to The Sunday Times, civil servants refused the request, leading Mrs Braverman to turn to a political aide to assist her in attempting to arrange an alternative to having to attend a course with other motorists.

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The newspaper reported that a number of requests were made to a speeding awareness course provider by an aide, including asking if the senior Conservative minister would be able to undertake an online course, but be allowed to use an alias or have her camera switched off.

The suggestions were said to have been refused, with Mrs Braverman later choosing to forgo the course altogether and accepting three points on her driving licence.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats are calling for Mrs Braverman to face a probe by the Prime Minister’s adviser on ministerial interests, Sir Laurie Magnus.

The rules currently mean that Rishi Sunak would have to commission his ethics tsar to look into the allegations, which Labour has suggested could breach the ministerial code — a set of rules all ministers must abide by or face sanctions, including potentially being sacked.

A source close to Mrs Braverman told PA news agency the speeding ticket and subsequent arrangements for dealing with it were reported to the Cabinet Office at the time.

They said the Home Secretary was keen to arrange a course, rather than take the points, due to concerns around her insurance premium potentially increasing.

Mrs Braverman was reportedly issued with a speeding notice by police after being caught driving faster than the speed limit on a road outside London when she was attorney general in the summer of 2022.

She was offered the choice of paying the fine and receiving three points, attending the course in lieu of points and the fine, or challenging the speeding notice.

The Sunday Times said it was after being appointed home secretary by former prime minister Liz Truss that she attempted to engage civil servants in the Home Office about trying to secure a special arrangement for a driving course.

Cabinet meeting
Opposition MPs have urged the Prime Minister to commission an investigation into the driving course allegations against Home Secretary Suella Braverman (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

Mrs Braverman resigned on October 19 as home secretary after sharing a sensitive document with a Tory backbencher from a personal email without permission.

She was, however, reappointed Home Secretary by Mr Sunak only six days later when he entered No 10.

It was at this point that she decided to drop her pursuit of a driving awareness course, instead taking the points, the newspaper reported.

Labour shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the reports were “shocking”.

She said: “As Home Secretary, Suella Braverman is responsible for upholding the law, yet this report suggests she has tried to abuse her position to get round the normal penalties so it is one rule for her and another for everyone else.

“We’ve had 13 years of the Tories trying to dodge the rules for themselves and their mates.

“Enough is enough. The Home Secretary and the Prime Minister need to both urgently explain what has been going on, including what the Prime Minister knew when he reappointed her.

“Rishi Sunak was too weak to deal with her the last time she broke the ministerial code, is he still too weak to take action now?

“The Prime Minister has promised integrity, professionalism and accountability, yet it appears his Home Secretary is blatantly flouting all three.

“We need an urgent investigation into what has gone on here, starting with Laurie Magnus seeing how this is possibly compatible with the ministerial code.”

Alistair Carmichael, the Lib Dems’ home affairs spokesman, said: “Once again for the Government it’s one rule for them and another for the rest of us.

“Suella Braverman should be urgently investigated by the ethics adviser and add her name to the near endless list of ministers who have had to undergo the same.

“Time and time again we are seeing a conveyor belt of Conservative politicians run roughshod over the rules and drag our politics into the gutter.

“Now, the buck stops with Rishi Sunak himself to stop the endless headlines of sleaze and scandal.”

A source close to the Home Secretary said: “Mrs Braverman accepted three points for a speeding offence which took place last summer.

“The Cabinet Office was notified of this as requested by Mrs Braverman. She was not and is not disqualified from driving.”

According to the Government’s website, a motorist can be banned from driving if they have 12 or more penalty points on their licence.

The Sunday Times said that civil servants, before refusing Mrs Braverman’s request for them to set-up a bespoke driving course arrangement for her, contacted the Cabinet Office for advice.

A Cabinet Office spokesman, asked to confirm the report, said: “It would not be appropriate to comment on the existence or content of advice between Government departments.”

A spokesman for the Home Secretary said: “Mrs Braverman accepts that she was speeding last summer and regrets doing so.

“She took the three points and paid the fine last year.”