Interior minister admits breaking ministerial code

SUELLA Braverman admitted to transferring government documents six times from her official secure email to her personal email account.

The interior minister’s confession – in a letter to the chairman of the home affairs select committee – will add pressure on Rishi Sunak over his reappointment.

He reinstated her as head of the Home Office just six days after she was sacked by Liz Truss for sending confidential documents from a personal email account to a fellow Conservative backbencher.

Ms Braverman was only caught off guard because she intended to send a copy to Sir John’s wife – who is also his secretary – but accidentally forwarded the document to a member of staff at a aide to Conservative MP Andrew Percy.

Mr. Percy then raised the alarm with the Chief Whip.

Ms Barverman initially claimed she informed officials ‘promptly’, but over the weekend it emerged she had initially told Mr Percy’s assistant to delete and ignore the report. ‘E-mail.

In the letter to Dame Diana Johnson, the Labor MP who chairs the Home Affairs Committee, the Home Secretary says she wants to provide a ‘detailed account’ to combat the ‘level of speculation about the sequence of events which led to my resignation, containing several inaccuracies.”

She reveals that she sent the email at 7:25 a.m. on October 19.

At 8.34am, Mr Percy’s staff member replied, saying: ‘This was sent to me by mistake.’

Ms Braverman tells MPs she then did not recheck her emails until 10.02, when she asked that they be deleted and ignored.

The Home Secretary said she was then taking part in meetings at the Home Office to discuss ‘priorities and improving the delivery of our goals’ before meeting two constituents in the House of Commons.

Mr Percy had emailed the minister at 11.33am, telling her: “Suella, I’m really not sure government documents should be shared with members of your former campaign team via gmail.

“Can you tell me what the Ministerial Code says about this and what are the processes at the Home Office for sharing sensitive government documents through Gmail.

“Simply asking my team to delete this email and ignore it is not an acceptable response to what appears, on the face of it, to be a potentially serious breach of security.

“I am considering a point of order on this issue and have raised it with the Chief Whip.

“I hope an explanation will be given. You are theoretically in charge of the security of this nation, we have received many warnings, even as lowly backbenchers, regarding cybersecurity.”

It was not until midday, after meeting Mr Percy and the Chief Commons Whip, that she then informed her private secretary of the error.

Ms Braverman says she recognizes ‘I made an error in judgment by emailing the draft [Written Ministerial Statement] on my personal email to Sir John and I’m sorry I did.

She added: ‘I recognized then and continue to recognize that my error of October 19 constituted a breach of the Ministerial Code in two ways – a breach of the collective bargaining process by sharing a Cabinet sub-committee document with an MP backbenchers (Section 2.3); and a violation of government security guidelines by using my personal computing for government business (Section 2.14) when not reasonably necessary.

! And that’s why I took responsibility and quit.”

The Home Secretary then met the Prime Minister at 2:45 p.m. and resigned “soon after”.

Ms Braverman told the committee: “Following my recommendation and subsequent resignation, the Home Office conducted a review of my personal email usage and verified the above sequence of events.

“The review also revealed that between September 6 and October 19, I had sent official documents from my government email to my personal email address six times.

“The review confirmed that all of these occasions occurred in circumstances where I was conducting Home Office meetings virtually or linked to public lines to take interviews.

“Some of these meetings had been hastily arranged in response to urgent operational matters related to Home Office priorities.

“The review also confirmed that on no other occasion has my special adviser sent an email to my personal account in connection with official business.”

More soon…

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