Suella Braverman should ‘get out of the way’ if she won’t help win the next election, says ex-Cabinet minister
A Tory ex-Cabinet minister has broken cover to suggest that Suella Braverman should “get out of the way” if she isn’t prepared to be a team player supporting Rishi Sunak.
Speaking to the News Agents podcast, former justice secretary Sir Robert Buckland – who served in government under four prime ministers – stopped short of calling for Ms Braverman to resign, but questioned whether she should remain in her post.
Sir Robert expressed bafflement at allegations that Ms Braverman had asked civil servants whether they could arrange a one-to-one speed awareness course away from the public after she was caught speeding.
He said the speeding row “is helpful to nobody”, adding that while it would not be a “hanging offence” by itself, “there was a previous infringement last year so that might be weighed in the balance.”
The MP said he was aware of suggestions that Ms Braverman would prefer to be outside Cabinet rallying the Tory right, adding: “I’ve heard that said as a perception. If that’s the case, it’s a very foolish course to take.”
He also condemned her decision to address the National Conservatism Conference last week – in a speech that strayed beyond her brief and was widely seen as a leadership pitch.
Sir Robert, who served in Government under David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss but returned to the backbenches when Mr Sunak became PM, added: “I think that when you’re in Cabinet, you’re bound by collective responsibility. I’ve seen signs of that being, shall we say, rather elastic in the last week or so.
“I think that some of the rhetoric suggests that perhaps there’s a straining at the leash, with participation in a so-called conservative conference that was nothing of the kind.
“It was nothing to do with the Conservative Party, but perhaps people from the far right of politics who wanted to make a statement, and not a statement that I think reflects a Conservative Party that accepts the world as it is.
“I don’t think any Cabinet minister should have been there.”
Asked if he was irritated with Ms Braverman, he said: “I’m irritated by anybody who gets in the way of the need for us to have a very clear message at the moment.
“I think that anybody who isn’t thinking ahead in a constructive way about what could be a winning platform for a centre-right Conservative government at the next election really should get out of the way and that other people who shouldn’t believe in that cause get on with the job.
“I think the Cabinet is better off with people in it who truly support collective responsibility and who have the discipline to behave in a way that is actually consistent with high office.”