UK’s Suella Braverman insists ‘nothing untoward’ in her driving fine
London: In her first reaction to a UK media report claiming she attempted to bypass the usual process after being caught speeding while driving outside London last year, UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman insisted on Monday “nothing untoward” happened in relation to the incident.
Addressing reporters during an interview on camera, Braverman, 43, admitted that she got a speeding ticket and paid the fine.
It came as Downing Street said British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who has just returned from the G7 summit in Japan, is still “updating himself” on all the information related to the issue.
It is believed he has discussed the matter with his independent adviser on ministerial ethics, Sir Laurie Magnus, amid Opposition demands for an investigation.
“What I will say is that in my view I am confident that nothing untoward has happened,” said Braverman.
“I got a speeding ticket, I paid the fine, I took the points. In my view nothing untoward has happened,” said the Indian-origin minister.
Opposition Labour Leader Keir Starmer said Sunak should order Magnus to fully investigate whether ministerial rules were broken.
“The usual consequence of breaking the ministerial code is that you’ll go,” he told the BBC.
The Liberal Democrats are also calling for an investigation and said Sunak needed to make a statement in Parliament about the claims.
It relates to a report in ‘The Sunday Times’ claiming that the Cabinet minister, then the UK’s Attorney General, asked civil servants to help her avoid a speeding fine and points on her driving licence by arranging a private one-to-one driving awareness course.
In the UK, anyone caught speeding is handed a fine and penalty points on their licence unless they sign up for an awareness course held in group sessions or online.
When the civil servants refused to intervene, Braverman allegedly sought help from a political aide, who requested the course organiser provide a private session, or allow her to use an alias or turn her camera off to remain anonymous to others on the course. When the provider refused, Braverman opted to take the three points on her licence, the newspaper reported.
Accumulating 12 or more points on a licence could result in the driver losing their licence and being disqualified from driving over time. Any points on a driving licence also impact the insurance premium to be paid by the driver.
Asked whether she would welcome an investigation into what happened or if she had spoken to Sunak about it, Braverman simply said: “I am focussed on working as the Home Secretary.” While the minister’s supporters within the Conservative Party fear she is being unfairly targeted for her tough stance on immigration matters, the controversy is unlikely to die down any time soon and is expected to dominate parliamentary proceedings for some time.