by Richey Edwards
|Suella Braverman was praised for her conference speech two weeks ago|
Suella Braverman was one of only two actual conservatives to enter the race to succeed Boris Johnson (the other was Kemi Badenoch). That she fell so early on in the race is a sad indictment on the current state of the parliamentary Tory party. As the party tears itself apart and gifts Labour a resounding election victory, Braverman bowed out again on Wednesday.
Although the official reason for her departure as Home Secretary was a breach of the ministerial code, her resignation letter - published for the world to see on Twitter
- suggested she was only too happy to be shot of it. The letter contains damning criticism of the Truss government and she singles out immigration policy - or lack of it - as a key grievance. While her predecessor Priti Patel struggled with the issue for three years without success, Braverman wasn't going to be just another home secretary with her hands tied behind her back.
Braverman wrote: "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." She raised the topic again in the next paragraph, writing that the British people 'deserve an immigration policy they want and voted for'.
Braverman was well received at the Tory conference two weeks ago, but she was speaking to party members and not just the left-leaning rabble of the parliamentary party. Her main address was heavy on migration as she pledged to 'take back control of our borders'. At a fringe event she went further: "I would love to be having a front page of the Telegraph with a plane taking off to Rwanda, that’s my dream, that’s my obsession." Alas, it was likely to remain a dream as long as Truss was in Number Ten.
As a leadership contender, Truss barely mentioned immigration - if at all. Worse still, since her ascent to the leadership she has only talked about it once - and that was to say she wants to loosen immigration controls and increase migration in order to fill job vacancies. This is, of course, contrary to the 2019 manifesto pledge and pretty much every Tory manifesto pledge on immigration since 2010. It is almost as if each successive leader had little to no interest in bringing net migration down, something which is certainly true of Truss and her predecessor. Boris Johnson rarely spoke of migration either, making Priti Patel a lame duck home secretary who must have felt like she was banging her head against a brick wall.
Suella had no intention of being similarly ignored and it is almost certain that her lackadaisical breach of ministerial rules was merely an easy way out for her.
The left's response to her departure was jubilant. Braverman once wrote of Twitter: "If I get trolled and I provoke a bad response on Twitter I know I'm doing the right thing. Twitter is a sewer of left-wing bile. The extreme left pile on is often a consequence of sound conservative values." While the left despise most people acting under a Tory banner, they are unrelenting in their pursuit of real actual conservatives - as opposed to impostors like the socially liberal Johnson and Truss.
Labour's Socialist Campaign Group of MPs were particularly scathing, Zarah Sultana tagging Braverman directly in her message. Jeremy Corbyn dressed up the same message in a more polite manner. By the way, they were not 'refugees' that Braverman wanted to deport, at best they are economic migrants, at worse they are a potentially dangerous legion of young men who feed off our political masters' liberal generosity without providing anything positive in return.
While the left celebrated the demise of a true conservative, one of the most euphoric and spiteful tweets came from within the Tory party itself...
There is little contained within the above tweet to suggest that the person behind it is a conservative in any way, shape or form. Well, she isn't. Life peer Baroness Warsi is symptomatic of the non-conservative party the Tories have become. Here is an individual who cannot contain her hatred for conservative values and openly defends woke ideology and open borders. Her hashtags #Tofu and #Wokerati in the above tweet reference a quote by Braverman in which the then Home Secretary condemned the 'Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokerati' of the Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion fanatics blocking our roads.
Needless to say, Warsi's tweet
was met with glowing endorsements from the very people she should be in opposition to - if she were an actual conservative that is. Last week Warsi urged Liz Truss to call a general election, surely in the knowledge that her party would be duly ousted from power in the process. With party comrades like Warsi, who needs Labour?
Suella Braverman's resignation letter in full...
Dear Prime Minister,
It is with the greatest regret that I am choosing to tender my resignation.
Earlier today, I sent an official document from my personal 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. As you know, the document was a draft Written Ministerial Statement about migration, due for publication imminently. Much of it had already been briefed to MPs. Nevertheless it is right for me to go.
As soon as I realised my mistake, I rapidly reported this on official channels, and informed the Cabinet Secretary. As Home Secretary I hold myself to the highest standards and my resignation is the right thing to do. The business of government relies upon people accepting responsibility for their mistakes. Pretending we haven't made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can't see that we have made them, and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious polities. I have made a mistake; I accept responsibility: I resign.
It is obvious to every one that we are going through a tumultuous time. I have concerns about the direction of this government. 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.
It has been a great honour to serve at the Home Office. In even the brief time that I have been here, it has been very clear that there is much to do, in terms of delivering on the priorities of the British people. They deserve policing they can respect, an immigration policy they want and voted for in such unambiguous numbers at the last election, and laws which serve the public good, and not the interests of selfish protesters.
I am very grateful to all of my officials, special advisers and ministerial team for all of their help during my time as Home Secretary. I especially would like to pay tribute to the heroic policemen and women and all those who work at Border Force and in our security services. To oversee Operation Bridges - the largest policing operation in a generation - was a great honour and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve.
I wish my successor good luck.
Rt Hon Suella Braverman KC MP
Truss's response to Braverman was a glowing appraisal of her time as the shortest serving home secretary of all time. No reference was made to Braverman's concerns, but then immigration does not appear to be of concern to the Prime Minister of this country and that will be of concern to voters.
Thank you for your letter. I accept your resignation and respect the decision you have made. It is important that the Ministerial Code is upheld, and that Cabinet confidentiality is respected.
I am grateful for your service as Home Secretary. Your time in office has been marked by your steadfast commitment to keeping the British people safe. You oversaw the largest ever ceremonial policing operation, when thousands of officers were deployed from forces across the United Kingdom to ensure the safety of the Royal Family and all those who gathered in mourning for Her Late Majesty The Queen.
I am also grateful for your previous work as Attorney General, as my Cabinet colleague and in particular your work on the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.
I look forward to working with you in the future and wish you all the best.
It's hard to deduce what is actually going on right now inside the UK government. It is nothing short of a debacle, the like of which is causing immense damage to the good name of our country around the world. Who is actually in charge? No-one seems to know. And all this comes just weeks after the most watched event in history showcased our nation at its very best. Thankfully, Her Majesty cannot bear witness to the clown show overseen by her fifteenth and final prime minister.
The ministerial merry-go-round and persistent coups will wear down the electorate until very few are prepared to turn out for the Conservatives. The party can wave farewell to the demographic who 'lent' their votes in 2019 - those who either just wanted to 'get Brexit done', stop Corbyn or both. While Northern Ireland is still technically trapped inside the EU, mainland Britain - where the Tories field candidates - is out. Corbyn is long gone and not even a Labour MP any more. There is no incentive for those voters to keep faith with a party that has plunged into chaos, while delivering very little on their manifesto pledges - including that reduction on net migration.
Divided parties don't win elections and the Conservatives are now so fractured that it is not even a case of two opposing factions, but a myriad. Actual real conservatives of the right continue to be pushed to the margins, but they are still there fighting their corner like Braverman. Libertarian conservatives, who are not mutually exclusive from the right, have also been sidelined in recent years, but they too remain. There are so-called 'one nation' conservatives, socially liberal conservatives and 'classical liberals', a term used often to describe Boris Johnson. Again, the grouping is not mutually exclusive. One could argue that the ongoing flight from the right driven by the likes of Johnson and Truss has put the Tories left of Labour on the political spectrum. That is problematic going forwards as it provides voters with even less of an incentive to vote Conservative if what they have on the ballot paper is just more nanny state interventionism of the left.
Then, of course, there is Brexit. We should be long past the debate, but it still rumbles on in the background. The latest upheaval is often referred to as a 'Remainer coup' by Brexiteers such as Nigel Farage and it is certainly the case that Leave-voting Kwarteng and Braverman have been replaced by the odious Hunt and Schapps, both of whom backed Remain. Regardless of the intention of the schemers and plotters, it is irrelevant when Starmer is waiting in the wings at the next election.
That is sadly where we are heading and it will likely not be a single term Labour government, but a long and hard dose of Labour - such is the damage the Tories have done to themselves. The clown show we are all currently witnessing could potentially plumb a previously unfathomable depth - where the argument that 'things would be worse under Labour' is no longer valid. At that point whoever is in Number Ten may as well call an election, because there is little point prolonging the inevitable. The Conservatives will be demolished at the next election, perhaps fatally. And they will have no-one to blame but themselves.