Nick Robinson Leaves Minister Flustered As He Questions Suella Braverman's Cabinet Return

"Can you think of an example of anyone coming back to a job they've been sacked from a week later?"
James Cleverly was interviewed by Nick Robinson over Suella Braverman's reappointment
James Cleverly was interviewed by Nick Robinson over Suella Braverman's reappointment
BBC Radio 4 Today programme

Nick Robinson laid into James Cleverly over the reappointment of Suella Braverman as home secretary, less than a week after she was sacked.

Braverman was brought back into cabinet under new prime minister Rishi Sunak on Tuesday, despite leaving the very same role for a security breach on last Wednesday.

As the host of BBC Radio 4′s Today programme pointed out, Sunak had promised in his first speech as PM that his government would have “integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level”.

Interviewing the foreign secretary Cleverly, Robinson asked: “Did Suella Braverman when she was home secretary display integrity, professionalism and accountability?”

″Well, Suella made a mistake and she has apologised for that mistake,” Cleverly replied.

He claimed she still has experience within the home office, and “it’s clear that prime minister wants to make sure that department is delivering on day one”.

Robinson just repeated his question, adding: ”When she sent private cabinet papers to her personal email account, forwarded them to a Tory backbencher, and then was not fully honest about what she’d done?”

“Well, look, I don’t know all the details – you’re making statements there that I can’t confirm,” the senior minister replied.

Robinson suggested that the minister had read them in The Sunday Times, like he did.

″I know what’s been written but I can’t say, I can’t say, what did or did not happen,” Cleverly replied.

“Hold on, Mr Cleverly, a week ago, the prime minister of the day said she’d [Braverman] breached the ministerial code.

“And you’re addressing me as if I’m discussing gossip and speculation. She quit for a breach of the rules, so I’m asking a question – did she display integrity?”

“She said she made a mistake, she apologised, she stood down.”

The host repeated his question once again, and this time Cleverly said “yes”, claiming Sunak had just accepted Braverman’s apology.

Robinson pushed: ″You’ve said that she displayed integrity, which will interest people, simply by apologising.

″Let me just put it to you before moving onto policy – no-one in a business, no-one in a public service, no-one listening in a school or hospital who broke the rules of their employment would think that merely by apologising, they could be re-appointed a week later.

“Can you think of a single example of that in normal life?”

When Cleverly dodged the question again, Robinson asked: “Can you think of an example of anyone, from your normal life, coming back to a job they’ve been sacked from a week later?”

“People make mistakes,” the foreign secretary replied. “No-one goes to work with the intention of making a mistake.”


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