What’s next for Suella Braverman, outspoken opponent of UK’s ‘tofu-eating wokerati’?
- The second big name to leave Liz Truss’ government is a darling of the Tory right, which she could mobilise if the prime minister is ousted by her own MPs
- The former home secretary had a tough stance on immigration, once calling it her ‘dream’ and ‘obsession’ to see the first planeload of migrants leave for Rwanda
Suella Braverman was a darling of Britain’s Conservative right for her attacks on “woke” politics, but on Wednesday became the second big name to leave Prime Minister Liz Truss’s government after just six weeks.
The former home secretary, 42, said she had quit Truss’s cabinet after using her personal email to send an official document to a colleague, but also said she had “serious concerns” about the new government breaking manifesto promises.
“Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see we’ve made them, and hoping things will magically come right is not serious politics,” Braverman wrote in her resignation letter.
The letter amounted to a blistering takedown after Truss was forced to abandon her economic agenda, and fired finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng.
Braverman’s departure could free her to mobilise the Tory right wing if, as widely expected, Truss is forced out by her own members of parliament.
While Truss endured a difficult Conservative conference this month, Braverman burnished her credentials among right-leaning party members with a series of hardline statements on immigration and other policies.
In one of her final public statements as home secretary, Braverman on Tuesday attacked her government’s critics as “the Labour Party, it’s the Lib Dems, it’s the coalition of chaos, it’s the Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokerati…”
Ex-premier Boris Johnson appointed the inexperienced Braverman as attorney general just over a year ago, making her the government’s principal legal adviser. She had worked as a lawyer before becoming an MP in 2015.
Finding a solution to the thorny political issue of illegal migration, which ultimately scuppered predecessor Priti Patel, had been Braverman’s top priority during her short time in office.
The government is currently embroiled in a legal battle to implement its plan to send migrants illegally crossing the Channel to Rwanda. An intervention by European judges has so far prevented the removal of any migrants, and a full hearing is ongoing.
At this month’s Tory conference, Braverman said it was her “dream” and “obsession” to see the first planeload of migrants depart for Rwanda.
She has contrasted Channel migrants’ illegal entry to her own family’s experience. Braverman’s parents, who are of Indian origin, emigrated legally to Britain in the 1960s from Kenya and Mauritius.
She was one of the first to declare her leadership bid following Johnson’s downfall, exploiting her credentials as an arch-Brexiteer and right-wing culture warrior, despite her short time in government.
Braverman had also said that owing to the energy crisis fuelled by the war in Ukraine, “we must suspend the all-consuming desire” to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
She has praised the British Empire as a “force for good” and said that as Conservatives, “we are engaged in a battle against cultural Marxism”. Anti-racism campaigners criticised her use of the cultural Marxism phrase, which is linked to the far-right, as anti-Semitic, an accusation she rejected.
Despite her popularity with grass-roots members, her views were less popular among fellow Tory MPs, who eliminated her from the leadership contest at the third hurdle. She then threw her support behind eventual winner Truss, and was rewarded with the high-profile job of home secretary.
Braverman, who has two children, was born in Harrow, northwest London, in 1980. She read law at the University of Cambridge, where she was president of the student Conservative association, and completed a master’s degree at Pantheon-Sorbonne University in Paris.
After several failed attempts to enter politics, Braverman was elected to the House of Commons as the MP for Fareham, in southern England, in 2015.
She is a member of the Triratna Buddhist Community and took her oath of office on the Dhammapada, one of the best-known Buddhist scriptures.