Suella Braverman Biography: Quits As UK Home Secretary

Rightwinger is replaced by Grant Shapps in further serious blow to Truss’s authority3 min

Suella Braverman

Suella Braverman has been forced to resign as UK home secretary, throwing Liz Truss’s premiership into further chaos and angering the Tory right.

The Guardian was first to reveal that Braverman was departing, and that Grant Shapps, the former transport secretary who strongly backed Rishi Sunak in the Conservative leadership race, was replacing her.

Braverman, a leading rightwinger, was sacked by the prime minister because she sent an official document from her personal email to a fellow MP, in a serious breach of ministerial rules.

The draft written statement on migration was deemed highly sensitive because it related to immigration rules, which potentially have major implications for market-sensitive growth forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

However, Braverman’s departure is a further serious blow to Truss’s authority, coming as a growing number of Tory MPs – including her net zero tsar – threatened to rebel in a fracking vote, she U-turned once again on the pensions triple lock, and she suffered a mauling from Keir Starmer at prime minister’s questions.

Shapps’s appointment raised eyebrows in Westminster as he was believed to have been involved in attempts to get rid of the prime minister. It comes two days after he told Matt Forde’s podcast that he thought Truss was unlikely to survive. “She needs to thread the eye of a needle with the lights off, it’s that difficult,” he said.

Braverman, in a brutal resignation letter that contrasted her actions with those of Truss, wrote:

Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see that we have made them, and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious politics. I have made a mistake; I accept responsibility; I resign.

“It is obvious to everyone that we are going through a tumultuous time. I have concerns about the direction of this government. Not only have we broken key pledges that were promised to our voters, but I have had serious concerns about this government’s commitment to honouring manifesto commitments.”

Early life and education

Suella Braverman

Braverman was born in Harrow, Greater London, and raised in Wembley. She is the daughter of Uma (née Mootien-Pillay) and Christie Fernandes, both of Indian origin, who emigrated to Britain in the 1960s from Mauritius and Kenya respectively. Her mother, of Hindu Tamil Mauritian descent, was a nurse and a councillor in Brent, as well as the Conservative candidate in Tottenham in the 2001 general election and the 2003 Brent East by-election. Her father, of Goan ancestry (who formerly was an Indian in Kenya), worked for a housing association. She is the niece of Mahen Kundasamy, a former Mauritian High Commissioner to London.

She attended the Uxendon Manor Primary School in Brent and the fee-paying Heathfield School, Pinner, on a partial scholarship, after which she read law at Queens’ College, Cambridge. During her undergraduate studies, she was president of the Cambridge University Conservative Association.

Braverman lived in France for two years, as an Erasmus Programme student and then as an Entente Cordiale Scholar, where she completed a master’s degree in European and French law at Panthéon-Sorbonne University.

Suella Braverman

Home secretary

Braverman was appointed Home secretary in the new Truss ministry on 6 September 2022.

In October 2022, Braverman said that she would love to see a front page of The Daily Telegraph sending asylum seekers to Rwanda and described it as her “dream” and “obsession”. The first attempted flight by the UK to send asylum seekers to Rwanda in June 2022 resulted in asylum seekers being restrained and attached to plane seats after self-harming and threatening suicide. On the matter, the UN Refugee Agency have said that the “arrangement, which amongst other concerns seeks to shift responsibility and lacks necessary safeguards, is incompatible with the letter and spirit of the 1951 Convention” in regards to the rights of refugees.

Braverman was fired as Home Secretary on 19 October 2022. She said this was because she had made an “honest mistake” by sharing an official document from her personal email address with a colleague in Parliament, an action which breached the Ministerial Code. Braverman was also highly critical of Truss’s leadership in her resignation letter.

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