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Sunak-supporter Grant Shapps named UK's new Home Secretary after Suella Braverman resigns

Braverman took up the role in September as part of Liz Truss’ new Cabinet.

LAST UPDATE | 19 Oct 2022

FORMER UK TRANSPORT Secretary Grant Shapps has been named as the country’s new Home Secretary after Suella Braverman resigned earlier today.

In a letter to British Prime Minister Liz Truss, Braverman said she was resigning after a “mistake” surrounding sending an official document from her personal email.

She told Truss she was concerned about “the direction” of the British government.

In response, accepting the resignation, Truss wrote: “It is important that the ministerial code is upheld and that Cabinet confidentiality is respected.” 

Conservative MP Grant Shapps, who was transport secretary under Boris Johnson, is set to replace her.

During the party’s recent leadership race, Shapps was a vocal supporter of Rishi Sunak, Truss’ main opposition for the role.

Grant Shapps said he is looking forward to getting on with the job as Home Secretary “regardless of what’s happening otherwise in Westminster”.

Speaking to reporters this evening outside the Home Office, Shapps said that it has been a “turbulent time” for the UK government.

“But the most important thing is to make sure the people of this country know they’ve got security. That’s why it’s a great honour to be appointed as Home Secretary today,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the role providing the security the British people need regardless of what’s happening otherwise in Westminster.”

Shapps refused to be drawn on the resignation of his predecessor Suella Braverman.

He told reporters: “There is a very important job to do. People expect their Government to ensure there is security for them. The Home Office is at the heart of that in so many different ways.

“It is a great office of state. I am obviously honoured to do that role. I am going to get on with that serious role right now.”

Braverman took up the home secretary position in September as part of Truss’ new Cabinet.

She had served as the attorney general for England and Wales since 2020. Previously, she was parliamentary under-secretary of state for exiting the EU in 2018 under Theresa May’s government.

In her resignation letter, Braverman detailed that she sent an official document from her personal email account.

She said she sent the email to a “trusted parliamentary colleague as part of policy engagement, and with the aim of garnering support for government policy on migration”.

“This constitutes a technical infringement of the rules.”

She said the document was a draft written ministerial statement and that although much of it had already been briefed to MPs, “nevertheless it is right for me to go”.

“The business of government relies upon people accepting responsibility for their mistakes,” she said.

“Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see 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.”

Braverman wrote in her letter that she “concerns about the direction of this government”.

“It is obvious to everyone that we are going through a tumultuous time.

“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, such as reducing overall migration numbers and stopping illegal migration, particularly the dangerous small boats crossings.”

Braverman is not the first departure from Truss’ young Cabinet; Kwasi Kwarteng was asked to resign as Chancellor amid backlash to fiscal decisions.

Truss has come under fire in recent days over tumultuous tax policy moves that shook the country’s economy, with at least five Tory MPs calling on her to resign.

Liberal Democrats home affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael described Braverman’s departure as the latest in a “carousel of Conservative chaos”.

“This is a government in chaos. People should not be forced to watch the Conservative party implode day after day while real people suffer,” Carmichael said.

“There is a of cost of living catastrophe, health service crisis and now a rudderless Home Office. The only solution now is a general election so the public can get off this carousel of Conservative chaos.”

Chaotic scenes

Meanwhile, the UK Government has defeated Labour’s bid to ban fracking amid farcical scenes in the House of Commons.

Conservative whips initially stated the vote on whether to allocate Commons time to consider legislation to stop shale gas extraction was being treated as a “confidence motion” in Liz Truss’s embattled Government.

But after a series of Tory MPs signalled they would not take part in the vote, climate minister Graham Stuart caused confusion by telling the Commons: “Quite clearly this is not a confidence vote.”

When Conservative MP Ruth Edwards asked to clarify if those Tories who abstain or vote against the motion will lose the party whip, Stuart added: “That is a matter for party managers, and I am not a party manager.”

Politicians have claimed MPs were being “manhandled” into supporting the Government during the vote. 

Shadow minister Anna McMorrin wrote on Twitter that she witnessed one Conservative MP “in tears” in the lobby.

McMorrin tweeted: “Extraordinary stuff happening here during the vote on fracking which is apparently ‘not a confidence vote’.

“I’ve just witnessed one Tory member in tears being manhandled into the lobby to vote against our motion to continue the ban on fracking.”

David Linden MP tweeted that he had “just watched the Deputy Prime Minister practically pick up a hesitant Tory MP and march him into the Government lobby” and added that it was “astonishing”.

Labour MP Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland Ian Murray said he witnessed “Whips screaming at Tories” and described it as “open warfare”.

Murray tweeted: “I’ve never seen scenes like it at the entrance to a voting lobby.

“Tories on open warfare. Jostling and Rees-Mogg shouting at his colleagues. Whips screaming at Tories. They are done and should call a general election.

“Two Tory whips dragging people in. Shocking.”

Meanwhile, Labour MP Tulip Siddiq described the vote as “shambolic”.

Siddiq tweeted: “Wow. Astonishing scenes in the voting lobbies. Tory mps literally being carried through to vote for fracking. So shambolic.”

Labour’s motion was defeated by 230 votes to 326, majority 96, but the Commons heard there were “very strong rumours” the Government chief whip Wendy Morton had resigned.

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has said he does not know whether Morton was still in post.

“I am not entirely clear on what the situation is with the Chief Whip,” he told Sky News following the vote on fracking.

Allegations of bullying were also levelled against Government whips, with Labour former minister Chris Bryant saying some MPs had been “physically manhandled into another lobby and being bullied”.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon condemned the scenes in the House of Commons as an “utter shambles” and said Truss would quit if she had “an ounce of decency or any self-respect”.

Sturgeon tweeted: “An utter shambles. This can’t go on. General Election now.”

“Liz Truss needs to go, and she needs to go now.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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