Rishi Sunak defends return of interior secretary who was sacked just a week ago – POLITICO

LONDON — Rishi Sunak on Wednesday defended his « unity cabinet » after being criticized for reinstating Suella Braverman as UK Home Secretary days after she was forced to resign for breaching ethics rules of the government.

Opposition leader Keir Starmer said the post should be filled by someone whose « integrity and professionalism are unquestionable », and accused Sunak of making « a dirty deal by trading security national because he was afraid of losing another leadership election ».

Braverman, a leading Tory eurosceptic, was forced to resign from Liz Truss’ cabinet last week over her decision to send an official unpublished Home Office document to a backbench MP – a violation of the national security ministerial code which is intended to control government behavior.

His endorsement of Sunak in the Tory leadership race over the weekend was seen as crucial in giving momentum to the new prime minister’s campaign.

Speaking in his first appearance in the House of Commons since becoming prime minister, Sunak said Braverman had « made an error in judgement », but said she had « accepted her mistake ». He said he was delighted to welcome him back to « a united Cabinet that brings experience and stability to the heart of government ».

During a spirited question time for the first prime minister, Starmer joked that the only time Sunak stood in a competitive election he was « defeated by the former prime minister, who -even got beat up by a lettuce » – a reference to the tabloid stunt that saw Truss’ Political Survival opposed the salad’s shelf life.

Sunak told MPs he was the « first to admit mistakes were made » during Truss’ brief tenure and made it clear that a controversial part of his brief tenure could be dropped.

Asked if he would reverse the green light given by the former prime minister to hydraulic fracturing – a method of extracting shale gas decried by environmentalists – Sunak told Green MP Caroline Lucas: “ I stand by the manifesto on this. » The 2019 Conservative election manifesto said the party « would not support fracking unless the science categorically shows it can be done safely ».

There was a moment of unity between the parties in the clash session: Starmer said Sunak’s appointment as Britain’s first Asian prime minister was « a significant moment in our national history ».

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