SUELLA Braverman has tonight accused Rishi Sunak of a “betrayal of your promise to the nation” in a blistering parting shot.
The axed Home Secretary mauled the PM in an extraordinary letter that blasted his “weak” leadership on migration and protests.
In a searing attack she said: “Someone needs to be honest: your plan is not working, we have endured record election defeats, your resets have failed and we are running out of time. You need to change course urgently.”
Ms Braverman unleashed after being fired yesterday following her unauthorised attack on the Met’s response to pro-Palestine marches.
Downing Street tonight shot back that the PM “believes in actions not words” – and was “proud to appoint a strong, united team”.
But in her bombshell letter Suella:
- CLAIMED Mr Sunak had reneged on a backroom deal the pair struck last year during his PM bid
- BLASTED the PM for showing weakness over the pro-Palestine protest marches in London
- ACCUSED her former boss of failing to get tough with meddling Euro judges
- SLAMMED the PM for “magical thinking” over Rwanda with no “credible” Plan B
- HAMMERED him for putting off “tough decisions in order to minimise political risk to yourself”
- REMINDED Mr Sunak he was “rejected” by Tory members and had “no personal mandate to be PM”
Ms Braverman‘s 1,329-word onslaught risks plunging the party into civil war as her allies begin to circle on Mr Sunak.
The outspoken Tory is widely believed to have leadership ambitions and could be a nightmare for the PM on the backbenches.
In her full-throated tirade, scorned Suella claimed the PM had failed to honour a deal brokered when she backed his leadership bid last year.
She said he had agreed to reduce overall legal migration, go hell for leather on stopping the boats, rip up Brexit red tape and trans guidance for schools protecting single sex spaces.
But in a withering assessment she raged: “You have manifestly and repeatedly failed to deliver on every single one of these key policies.”
Attacking his reluctance to overrule Strasbourg meddling on migration, she said: “Your rejection of this path was not merely a betrayal of our agreement, but a betrayal of your promise to the nation that you would do ‘whatever it takes’ to stop the boats.”
Ahead of tomorrow’s crunch Rwanda ruling, Ms Braverman accused Mr Sunak of failing to prepare for “any sort of credible Plan B”.
CRUNCH TIME FOR RWANDA PLAN
RISHI Sunak has a Plan B if Rwanda is sunk by the Supreme Court, Downing Street insisted today.
The fate of the flagship immigration policy will be decided tomorrow by the country’s most senior judges.
Defeat would deal a blow to the PM’s pledge to stop small boat crossings ahead of the election expected next year.
But today No10 claimed ministers had been wargaming the potential outcomes and drafting contingencies.
Mr Sunak’s spokesman said: “We’ve got options for possible scenarios as you would expect.”
New Home Secretary James Cleverly also briefed the Cabinet ahead of the ruling due at 10am tomorrow.
Last summer the Court of Appeal overturned a judgement from the High Court that the removal scheme was safe.
By a two-to-one vote judges were not reassured the Kigali government would not later send migrants on to other countries where they could face persecution.
Ministers also say a ruling of unlawfulness does not necessarily kill off the plan – first announced in 2022 by Boris Johnson – but will depend on how bad the judgement is.
Losing in the Supreme Court would also fuel Tory calls to quit the European Court of Human Right.
But victory would be a huge boost for Mr Sunak who would look to get flights off the ground as soon as possible.
Britain has paid Rwanda £140million to rehouse asylum seekers crossing the Channel.
Ministers claim it will deter tens of thousands making the perilous journey if they know they will be flown to the East African country.
Downing Street today insisted ministers had been drawing up contingency plans in the event of defeat in the Supreme Court.
But the ex Home Secretary said: “If we lose in the Supreme Court, an outcome that I have consistently argued we must be prepared for, you will have wasted a year and an Act of Parliament, only to arrive back at square one.
“Worse than this, your magical thinking – believing that you can will your way through this without upsetting polite opinion – has meant you have failed to prepare any sort of credible ‘Plan B’.”
Tory MP Sir Simon Clarke said tonight: “I hope the Government wins tomorrow’s Supreme Court case.
“However, win or lose, how the Government then proceeds will be a litmus test of whether it is serious about fixing the wholly unacceptable scale of illegal immigration, or simply talking about it.”
Ms Braverman also lashed out at Mr Sunak over his response to the Armistice Day protests which set in train her sacking.
The PM blamed on “differences of style” and suggested the outspoken Cabinet Minister had breached collective responsibility with her unauthorised attack on the Met last week.
But in her letter she attacked his “failure to rise to the challenge posed by the increasingly vicious antisemitism and extremism displayed on our streets since Hamas’ terrorist atrocities” on October 7.
“I have become hoarse urging you to consider legislation to ban the hate marches and help stem the rising tide of racism, intimidation and terrorist glorification threatening community cohesion.”
RISHI HITS BACK
In a statement tonight, Downing Street said: “The Prime Minister was proud to appoint a strong, united team yesterday focused on delivering for the British people.
“The Prime Minister believes in actions not words. He is proud that this government has brought forward the toughest legislation to tackle illegal migration this country has seen and has subsequently reduced the number of boat crossings by a third this year. And whatever the outcome of the Supreme Court tomorrow, he will continue that work.
“The Prime Minister thanks the former Home Secretary for her service.”
Ms Braverman’s parting shot came as right-wing Tory supporters put the PM on notice after his reshuffle was seen as tacking to the centre ground.
But Co-Chairs of the New Conservatives Miriam Cates and Danny Kruger said Mr Sunak’s fresh Cabinet risks alienating “the coalition of voters who brought us into power”.
The MPs said: “We are concerned that yesterday’s reshuffle indicates a major change in the policy direction of the Government.
“The Conservative Party now looks like it is deliberately walking away from the coalition of voters who brought us into power with a large majority in 2019.”
Critics blamed her for stoking tensions ahead of last Saturday’s protests which saw thuggery from the far-right and pro-Palestine sides.
But her supporters accused Mr Sunak of “caving to the left”.
James Cleverly was shunted from Foreign Secretary to become her replacement and inherits her massive in-tray including Wednesday’s do-or-die Rwanda judgement.
He insisted he was “absolutely committed to stopping the boats” but did not seem thrilled as he left Downing Street to take on his new job.
Mr Sunak brutally sacked Ms Braverman over the phone yesterday morning as she became the first casualty of the sweeping reshuffle.
The PM’s press secretary pointed to “issues around language” and added: “It is clearly very important that we have a united and strong team at the top of Government.”
But Mr Sunak was hammered by Tories on the right of the party who backed the axed Home Secretary’s no-nonsense approach.
MP Andrea Jenkyns said: “I support Suella Braverman. Sacked for speaking the truth. Bad call by Rishi caving in to the left!”
Ex-Cabinet Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg piled in: “Firing her is a mistake – she understood what the country wanted and needed in terms of migration, and I think it raises questions about the seriousness of the Government in tackling illegal migration.”
But staring down the right-wingers, Mr Sunak’s press secretary said: “We govern for the country, we do not govern for one particular way of thinking.”
It is the second time Ms Braverman was fired as Home Secretary, having previously been forced out under Liz Truss for a security breach.
She also caused a stir recently for insisting living in tents was a “lifestyle choice” for many homeless people.
She said yesterday: “It has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve as home secretary. I will have more to say in due course.
IN FULL: SUELLA BRAVERMAN’S SCATHING LETTER
Dear Prime Minister,
Thank you for your phone call yesterday morning in which you asked me to leave Government. While disappointing, this is for the best.
It has been my privilege to serve as Home Secretary and deliver on what the British people have sent us to Westminster to do. I want to thank all of those civil servants, police, Border Force officers and security professionals with whom I have worked and whose dedication to public safety is exemplary.
I am proud of what we achieved together: delivering on our manifesto pledge to recruit 20,000 new police officers and enacting new laws such as the Public Order Act 2023 and the National Security Act 2023. I also led a programme on reform: on anti-social behaviour, police dismissals and standards, reasonable lines of enquiry, grooming gangs, knife crime, non-crime hate incidents and rape and serious sexual offences. And I am proud of the strategic changes that I was delivering to Prevent, Contest, serious organised crime and fraud. I am sure that this work will continue with the new ministerial team.
As you know, I accepted your offer to serve as Home Secretary in October 2022 on certain conditions. Despite you having been rejected by a majority of Party members during the summer leadership contest and thus having no personal mandate to be Prime Minister, I agreed to support you because of the firm assurances you gave me on key policy priorities. Those were, among other things:
1. Reduce overall legal migration as set out in the 2019 manifesto through, inter alia, reforming the international students route and increasing salary thresholds on work visas;
2. Include specific ‘notwithstanding clauses’ into new legislation to stop the boats, i.e. exclude the operation of the European Convention on Human Rights, Human Rights Act and other international law that had thus far obstructed progress on this issue;
3. Deliver the Northern Ireland Protocol and Retained EU Law Bills in their then existing form and timetable;
4. Issue unequivocal statutory guidance to schools that protects biological sex, safeguards single sex spaces, and empowers parents to know what is being taught to their children.
This was a document with clear terms to which you agreed in October 2022 during your second leadership campaign. I trusted you. It is generally agreed that my support was a pivotal factor in winning the leadership contest and thus enabling you to become Prime Minister.
For a year, as Home Secretary I have sent numerous letters to you on the key subjects contained in our agreement, made requests to discuss them with you and your team, and put forward proposals on how we might deliver these goals. I worked up the legal advice, policy detail and action to take on these issues. This was often met with equivocation, disregard and a lack of interest.
You have manifestly and repeatedly failed to deliver on every single one of these key policies. Either your distinctive style of government means you are incapable of doing so. Or, as I must surely conclude now, you never had any intention of keeping your promises.
These are not just pet interests of mine. They are what we promised the British people in our 2019 manifesto which led to a landslide victory. They are what people voted for in the 2016 Brexit Referendum.
Our deal was no mere promise over dinner, to be discarded when convenient and denied when challenged.
I was clear from day one that if you did not wish to leave the ECHR, the way to securely and swiftly deliver our Rwanda partnership would be to block off the ECHR, the HRA and any other obligations which inhibit our ability to remove those with no right to be in the UK. Our deal expressly referenced ‘notwithstanding clauses’ to that effect.
Your rejection of this path was not merely a betrayal of our agreement, but a betrayal of your promise to the nation that you would do “whatever it takes” to stop the boats.
At every stage of litigation I cautioned you and your team against assuming we would win. I repeatedly urged you to take legislative measures that would better secure us against the possibility of defeat. You ignored these arguments. You opted instead for wishful thinking as a comfort blanket to avoid having to make hard choices. This irresponsibility has wasted time and left the country in an impossible position.
If we lose in the Supreme Court, an outcome that I have consistently argued we must be prepared for, you will have wasted a year and an Act of Parliament, only to arrive back at square one. Worse than this, your magical thinking – believing that you can will your way through this without upsetting polite opinion – has meant you have failed to prepare any sort of credible ‘Plan B’. I wrote to you on multiple occasions setting out what a credible Plan B would entail, and making clear that unless you pursue these proposals, in the event of defeat, there is no hope of flights this side of an election. I received no reply from you.
I can only surmise that this is because you have no appetite for doing what is necessary, and therefore no real intention of fulfilling your pledge to the British people.
If, on the other hand, we win in the Supreme Court, because of the compromises that you insisted on in the Illegal Migration Act, the Government will struggle to deliver our Rwanda partnership in the way that the public expects. The Act is far from secure against legal challenge. People will not be removed as swiftly as I originally proposed. The average claimant will be entitled to months of process, challenge, and appeal. Your insistence that Rule 39 indications are binding in international law – against the views of leading lawyers, as set out in the House of Lords will leave us vulnerable to being thwarted yet again by the Strasbourg Court.
Another cause for disappointment – and the context for my recent article in The Times – has been your failure to rise to the challenge posed by the increasingly vicious antisemitism and extremism displayed on our streets since Hamas’s terrorist atrocities of 7th October.
I have become hoarse urging you to consider legislation to ban the hate marches and help stem the rising tide of racism, intimidation and terrorist glorification threatening community cohesion. Britain is at a turning point in our history and faces a threat of radicalisation and extremism in a way not seen for 20 years. I regret to say that your response has been uncertain, weak, and lacking in the qualities of leadership that this country needs. Rather than fully acknowledge the severity of this threat, your team disagreed with me for weeks that the law needed changing.
As on so many other issues, you sought to put off tough decisions in order to minimise political risk to yourself. In doing so, you have increased the very real risk these marches present to everyone else.
In October of last year you were given an opportunity to lead our country. It is a privilege to serve and one we should not take for granted. Service requires bravery and thinking of the common good. It is not about occupying the office as an end in itself.
Someone needs to be honest: your plan is not working, we have endured record election defeats, your resets have failed and we are running out of time. You need to change course urgently.
I may not have always found the right words, but I have always striven to give voice to the quiet majority that supported us in 2019. I have endeavoured to be honest and true to the people who put us in these privileged positions.
I will, of course, continue to support the Government in pursuit of policies which align with an authentic conservative agenda.
Rt Hon Suella Braverman KC MP
Member of Parliament for Fareham