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Braverman: Labour will borrow Sunak’s ‘farcical gimmicks’

Suella Braverman speaks in Washington D.C. today. Credit: Getty

July 8, 2024 - 8:45pm

Former prime minister Rishi Sunak laid out a programme that Labour could “happily do”, Suella Braverman has claimed.

Speaking at the National Conservatism conference in Washington D.C., the former home secretary argued that Sunak’s premiership contained “farcical gimmicks” that Labour would adopt in office. “When Rishi Sunak became prime minister, he laid out a programme that our new Labour government could quite happily do and probably will,” Braverman said. “There were farcical gimmicks like the proposed smoking ban. And there was more nonsense like letting criminals out early and scrapping shorter sentences for low-level crime.”

Sunak sacked Braverman as home secretary at the end of 2023 after she defied No. 10 by writing an article accusing the Metropolitan Police of bias in its handling of protests. A few days later, Braverman accused the then-PM of breaking his pledge on lowering immigration, saying that he was trying to “avoid making hard decisions”. Today, she doubled down on her attacks, warning that Sunak “refused to do what was necessary” over stopping the boats. “Rather than live up to the pledge he made in Downing Street, he refused to do what was necessary,” she said. “The reason we failed to stop the boats and implement the Rwanda scheme was because Rishi Sunak didn’t want it to happen.”

Braverman admitted that the Tories took a “shellacking” in last week’s election, blaming liberal Conservatives such as Sunak who failed to enact promises made by the party in the 2019 general election. “We had won a truly great majority in 2019,” Braverman said today. “We were going to use newfound Brexit freedoms to stop illegal immigrants, cut taxes, and to stop the lunatic woke virus from infecting our British state.” The Conservative MP expressed regret that these promises remain unfulfilled, and attacked her fellow Conservatives for “searching for phantoms to explain our own failures”.

With just 121 Tory MPs remaining in Parliament, the pool of potential candidates to replace Sunak as leader of the Conservative Party is smaller than usual. Braverman, as standard-bearer for the Right, lost to Liz Truss when she challenged for the position two years ago, coming sixth. She has called for Britain to leave the European Convention on Human Rights and argued Reform UK Leader Nigel Farage should be allowed to join the Tories, which other Right-wingers such as Kemi Badenoch have not supported.  According to a Times report today, Braverman’s campaign is “dead before it has even started”, with one of her most high-profile supporters, Danny Kruger, expected to back Robert Jenrick instead.

Braverman did not mention the unofficial leadership contest in today’s speech. Instead, she implored conservatives to tack to the Right, warning that this “is not just a defeat for my party” but “an existential crisis from which we may not recover”. She added: “The Tories governed as liberals and were defeated as liberals.”


is UnHerd’s Newsroom editor.

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Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
13 days ago

She ain’t wrong about why the Tories lost but seems to have missed out incompetence.

AC Harper
AC Harper
13 days ago

It doesn’t matter if the Conservatives tack right (or not) if they still don’t do what they promise.
A failure of determination rather than incompetence perhaps?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
13 days ago

And that’s why she will not become leader of the conservatives. She’s just too conservative!

David McKee
David McKee
13 days ago

She won’t become leader, not because she’s too conservative, but because she can’t keep her big mouth shut in public.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
13 days ago
Reply to  David McKee

And we can’t handle the truth?

David McKee
David McKee
13 days ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Braverman’s opinions and the truth are not synonymous.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
13 days ago
Reply to  David McKee

So you’d prefer our politicians to dissemble? In a “knowing” and “clever” way?

The principle of “collective responsibility” can be taken too far, and lead to a lack of principle. What you get as a result is “the politicians you deserve”.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
13 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

Apparently, that’s Keir Starmer, a man who has perfected the art of saying nothing.

mike otter
mike otter
12 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Maybe this is his super power? Like Ronald Reagan’s sound advise – “don’t just do something, stand there”. Whilst i didnt want Labour to win i could warm to him as a Blair 2.0 at least the 97-2001 era which was the last true Tory Governemnt in Britain.

j watson
j watson
13 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

She’d have demonstrated more integrity if she’d resigned moment she was asked to sign off thousands of legal work visas LL. She didn’t.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
13 days ago
Reply to  David McKee

They are in this case.

j watson
j watson
13 days ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

She doesn’t tell the truth though does she. Why’d she sign off thousands of work visas?
She likes to focus on the illegal migration issue, whilst avoiding the much larger issue of the rocketing legal migration which she played a role in facilitating.
She’s all ‘performance’. Thing is though for some it works…for a while.

j watson
j watson
13 days ago

This the same Braverman who signed off tens of thousands work visas only to then resign on something performative involving Gaza demos? Yep. She’s a political opportunist. Same Braverman too who didn’t resign over Prisons policy and the shortfall in capacity? Same Braverman who supported the lunacy of Mad Liz? Same Braverman fired for breaching the Ministerial code?
She’s toast already. Criticising her own party whilst they were still fighting an election campaign for their survival clear idiocy if she wants to be it’s future Leader. She may articulate some views held by a number of others and delight in the attention that generates, but she’s an amplifier of rage not a problem solver. And she’s repeatedly demonstrated she lacks sound judgment.
Of course to kill off the Right some would be delighted if she became Tory leader. But actually Country needs a sound Right and she ain’t it.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
13 days ago
Reply to  j watson

The country has a ‘sound right’. It just won a landslide with the wholehearted support of the home counties. Pay attention.

j watson
j watson
13 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Glad to hear you are happy for once HB.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
12 days ago
Reply to  j watson

For you to call me ‘right wing’ is an indication of just how meaningless these terms have become. In every one of our conversations you, not I, have been the one defending privilege and unaccountable power. Yet I’m on the ‘right’.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
12 days ago
Reply to  j watson

You’re fixated about work visas. It was Bojo’s decision to dramatically increase the number of work, family and student visas. Collective responsibility won’t work if Cabinet ministers resign every time they disagree with something, although I commend Jenrick for finally having had enough. Her criticism of the Met was entirely valid and Sunak’s response simply showed his weakness.
As for Truss, if “[c]riticising her own party whilst they were still fighting an election campaign” is idiocy, what was it when closet LibDems masquerading as Tory MPs defenestrated their duly elected leader the moment things got tough? I’d call it treachery. It might have been a slow burner but it certainly turned out to be an election loser.

j watson
j watson
11 days ago

Braverman signed them off DS. And the reason it’s an issue is the number much much larger than the Boats. If net migration numbers her main difference with her PM then why not resign on that? I agree Ministers can’t be resigning on every small disagreement, but she’s making out this is her main issue.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
13 days ago

Suella has one bold and vital message: the UK must leave the European Convention and Court of Human Rights to complete Brexit. The dismantling of the British Supreme Court should also follow that. The British polity should be nothing but democratic.

Chipoko
Chipoko
12 days ago

Suella Braverman is the only Tory minister who had the courage to speak her mind. Her call to leave the European Convention and Court of Human Rights was what her government should have done during the 14 years they were in power. People generally don’t like politicians who speak their minds honestly, but seem to prefer weasel words and half-baked policy muddles. I hope she persists in her parliamentary career as she is a rare voice of reason and decency in a political morass seething with incompetence, personal ambition and falsehood.

David M
David M
11 days ago

She may want to get her message across rather than be leader. The MP’s may not vote for her but if they accept her blunt analysis they may vote for someone with somewhat similar views that are expressed more diplomatically.