Suella Braverman: 'I'm confident nothing untoward happened' over speeding offence

Allies of Suella Braverman fear she is the victim of a smear campaign

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she was “confident that nothing untoward happened” in the handling of her speeding offence and added she regrets breaking the speed limit.

The Home Secretary is under pressure after reports she asked officials to try to arrange a private speed awareness course for her rather than take penalty points on her driving licence.

In her first public comments on the row, Mrs Braverman did not deny asking civil servants to intervene.

Asked directly if she asked officials to arrange a one-to-one course for her, she said: “Last summer, I was speeding. I regret that. I paid the fine and I took the points but we’re focused now on delivering for the British people and working for them.”

Pressed on the same question, she said: “In relation to the process, I’m focused on delivering for the British people, doing my job as Home Secretary and what I will say is that, in my view, I’m confident that nothing untoward has happened.”

Mr Sunak has spoken to his ethics adviser Sir Laurie Magnus about Ms Braverman, Downing Street said.

No formal inquiry has yet been launched into whether she breached the ministerial code, it is understood.

A No 10 spokesman said Mr Sunak was “availing himself of information” about the situation after his return from the G7 summit overnight.

But Mr Sunak continued to have confidence in his Home Secretary, the spokesman said.

“He and the Home Secretary continue to work closely on the public’s priorities, not least tackling illegal immigration,” he added.

The Conservative Party leader is also expected to speak to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case following suggestions it was the Cabinet Office that ordered Home Office officials not to offer Mrs Braverman advice on securing a private course.

TalkTV's Dr David Bull said: "I was trying to work out why everyone is so fascinated by what I think is a relatively trivial incident and it was not until this morning that I realised this may be a smear campaign.

"She spoke at the National Conservatism Conference about the fact that legal migration is off the scale. We know those figures are coming out on Thursday and it's widely expected they'll be as high as 700,000 - 900,000. That would be the city the size of Birmingham coming in.

"She took the fine and she also took the points, end of story."

But Politics Home editor Alain Tolhurst said Ms Braverman was being criticised for attempting to use influence in an attempt to keep her identity secret.

"She's clearly not very popular within the civil service but I think this story is more about politicians seeking to get special treatment," he said.

"That's trying to get out of the embarrassment of being caught speeding. People are going to be upset about that, and that's certainly what is potentially a breach of the ministerial code."

Mrs Braverman may face a grilling about her response to being caught speeding during visits on Monday morning and then again in the House of Commons during Home Office questions.

Opposition MPs could apply to Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle for an urgent question on the matter as well.