As Rishi Sunak has been forming his government over the past fortnight, no appointment has been more controversial than that of Home Secretary Suella Braverman. Since she has taken up the mantle she so recently resigned from, Braverman has been under no end of scrutiny from the press, with many saying her days are numbered already.
Over the past two weeks she’s been embroiled in a myriad of issues that call her role as Home Secretary into question. In Westminster, building on her rhetoric at the Tory Party Conference last month, which featured a call to leave the European Convention of Human Rights, she’s come out swinging against her own party’s record on immigration in the House of Commons. Her claim that the “system is broken” and that “illegal immigration is out of control” is not exactly a ringing endorsement of 12 years of Tory leadership on the issue.
With the mounting pressure from this crisis, coupled with the fact that Braverman recently resigned from this very post after admitting to breaching the ministerial code, why is Sunak keeping her around?
Immigration is an incredibly divisive issue, and Braverman’s stance on it speaks to a section of the Tory party that Sunak is keen to keep on side. She is also a representative of the European Research Group (ERG), a faction of Tory MPs that has declined in influence but remains relevant. Despite the politically tight space she finds herself in, it seems Sunak has no choice but to make good on his deal with the ERG who may have sooner backed Boris in the most recent leadership bid.
Alongside this, Sunak is trying his very best to portray an image of stability, competence, and a very much missed sense of boredom in politics. Sacking Braverman now would not play into that narrative. However, given the downward trajectory of this particular crisis, it may be better to rip the band aid off now and create some time for the next Home Secretary to fix things well ahead of a general election. Rishi’s presence may be helping to claw back some ground in the polls, but rolling coverage of a migration crisis, alongside news of winter fuel poverty and a recession, do not make a good backdrop for support at the voting booth.
As stories about the asylum system and migration issues continue to gather steam, a decision will need to be made – either take the hit now and fight through the consequences, or wait and see, hoping boredom in politics is far reaching enough to tackle the drama at our borders.