Allegations that Suella Braverman asked civil servants to arrange a private one-to-one speed awareness course are the latest in a string of rows surrounding the home secretary.
Rishi Sunak is now set for talks with his independent ethics adviser to discuss a possible inquiry into her conduct, although it is as yet unclear if the row will lead the prime minister to remove her.
Ms Braverman has since defended her actions, saying “nothing untoward happened”.
Politics latest: Braverman asked about speeding fine row in Commons – as PM still ‘updating himself’ on story
It marks the latest chapter in Ms Braverman’s rapid rise to power and controversial time in one of the cabinet’s top jobs.
She was only elected as a Tory MP for the first time in 2015, before becoming a Brexit minister under Theresa May and then being appointed attorney general by Boris Johnson in February 2020.
Despite being a loyalist Johnson, she became the first Tory candidate to announce she wanted to replace him as prime minister.
After being knocked out of the race in the second round of voting, Ms Braverman backed eventual winner Liz Truss – and was rewarded for being appointed home secretary in September 2022.
But within weeks she appeared to defy her own prime minister by revealing she had concerns about government plans to allow more visa flexibility to people coming to the UK from India.
She told The Spectator magazine: “I do have some reservations. Look at migration in this country – the largest group of people who overstay are Indian migrants.”
Her comments reportedly sparked a furious backlash in New Delhi and were said to have almost torpedoed trade deal talks.
Ms Braverman also caused a stir as she defended the government’s controversial Public Order Billwhich was aimed at cracking down on disruptive protests.
Describing demonstrators, she claimed those taking part included “the Labor Party, it’s the Lib Dems, it’s the coalition of chaos, it’s the Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokerati, dare I say, the anti-growth coalition that we have to thank for the disruption that we are seeing on our roads today”.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper branded Ms Braverman’s words “astonishing”, adding: “The home secretary actually talked about a coalition of chaos, we can see it in front of us as we speak.”
But Ms Braverman’s first stint as home secretary then ended after 43 days when she resigned after breaching government security rules.
It emerged that she had sent an official document from her personal email to a backbench MP – which she admitted had been a “mistake”.
But in her resignation letter she took aim at then Prime Minister Liz Truss, accusing her of breaking “key pledges that were promised to our voters”.
She also expressed “serious concerns about this government’s commitment to honoring manifesto commitments”, particularly on immigration.
Migrants ‘invasion’ row
However, Ms Braverman returned as home secretary less than a week after being forced out – after being reappointed to the role by the new prime minister, Rishi Sunak.
But within days she sparked another row after claiming that illegal immigration was “out of control” – while also describing migrants coming to the UK as an “invasion”.
It came amid another controversy as Labor accused her of being silent on Channel crossings and overcrowding at the Manston processing center in Kent, where outbreaks of MRSA and diphtheria had been reported.
The site was designed to hold 1,000 people for up to 48 hours, but at the time there were around 4,000 migrants there – more than any UK prison population.
Even her colleagues held back from endorsing her comments, with immigration minister Robert Jenrick telling Sky News: “In a job like mine, you have to choose your words very carefully. And I would never demonize people coming to this country in pursuit of a better life.”
‘Cowardly attack’ on civil servants
Ms Braverman was then accused of carrying out a “cowardly attack” on civil servants in March 2023 after an email was sent to Tory supporters blaming government workers for blocking plans aimed at stopping small boats crossing the Channel.
The letter claimed an “activist blob of left-wing lawyers, civil servants and the Labor Party” had prevented the government from tackling the issue.
The email, which prompted fury from the FDA civil servants union, had the home secretary’s name at the end, implying she had written and signed it.
However, Cabinet Secretary Simon Case later said someone else was responsible and insisted that Ms Braverman “did not see, sign off or sanction the email” before it was sent – while Conservative Chairman Greg Hands apologized “for the mistake”.
Ms Braverman has also attracted controversy over her enthusiastic backing of the government’s policy of deportation flights to Rwanda. The policy was launched in April 2022 under her predecessor Priti Patel, but is yet to get off the ground.
The first flight was set to take off in June 2022 with four people on board, but was halted after a number of legal challenges and an intervention by the European Court of Human Rights, which said the plan carried “a real risk of irreversible harm”.
It’s hard to envision Sunak removing Braverman and risking a showdown
PM to consult independent ethics adviser over Braverman speeding fine
Ms Braverman, who visited the country in March for a tour of potential migrant housing, previously described deporting migrants to Rwanda as her “dream”, and said it was her “obsession” to see a plane take off under the scheme.
But both her rhetoric and the policy have been heavily criticized, including by refugee charities. They have described the plans as “cruel and nasty” and argue they will do nothing to determine people from traveling across the Channel.
Ms Braverman was further criticized earlier this year for claiming that grooming gang members are “almost all British Pakistani”.
She also told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “What we’ve seen is a practice whereby vulnerable white English girls, sometimes in care, sometimes who are in challenging circumstances, being pursued and raped and drugged and harmed by gangs of British Pakistani men who’ve worked in child abuse rings or networks.”
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Dozens of organizations, medical bodies and business leaders urged her to withdraw the comments, accusing her of “amplifying far-right narratives”.
The remarks were also criticized as factually inaccurate given a Home Office-commissioned study in 2020 found that group-based child sexual exploitation offenders are most commonly white males under 30.
Only last week Ms Braverman was accused of undermining Rishi Sunak with a speech at the National Conservatism conference which some saw as a pitch by her to become new Tory leader.
Former cabinet minister Robert Buckland suggested to Sky News that Ms Braverman should “concentrate on the job” of being the home secretary.