Cabinet conquered by Tory leftists: Takeover is all but complete as vision of a low-tax Britain is now dead, writes ANDREW PIERCE
Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who never misses a photo opportunity, joined the National Crime Agency in a dawn crackdown on a people-smuggling ring yesterday.
Braverman got up at 4am to meet with Oxfordshire Police and told the TV crews accompanying them that they had made a major breakthrough in the fight against illegal migrant crossings across the English Channel.
“Today’s operation sends a clear message that we are determined to bring the criminal gangs behind these deadly voyages across the English Channel to justice,” she said.
Barely six hours later, Braverman, 42, was summarily deposed by Prime Minister Liz Truss. The official reason was that she made a mistake in distributing an official government document using a private email account. In truth, it was a blazing 90-minute row between the home secretary and the prime minister on Tuesday night that tipped the scales in Braverman’s departure after just 43 full days in office.
Once again it was about immigration. Braverman and Truss have been at odds over the issue for weeks. No. 10 and the Treasury Department claim that admitting more workers from abroad is good for growth and are pushing for an easing of immigration rules to let in more, not fewer, migrants.
Suella Braverman resigned as home secretary tonight and was replaced by Grant Shapps, meaning three of the four major offices of state – including that of prime minister – are now held by ministers who voted to remain
The official reason was that she made a mistake in distributing an official government document using a private email account
Liz Truss’ brief reply confirmed that the former Home Secretary was overseeing police operations during the Queen’s official mourning period
But the home secretary, a standard-bearer for the right, expected the promise of the Conservative Manifesto of 2019 – to rely on “far fewer low-skilled migrants” to “lower overall migration” – to be kept.
And she made vigorous steps in that direction. While her predecessor Priti Patel was good at whitewashing her policies, she had little impact on the flow of migrants. However, just last week, under Braverman’s supervision, 11 Albanians were taken directly from a processing center in Kent to Stansted Airport.
Her exit means the Cabinet has lost two of the Tories’ leading Brexiteers in the space of six days. And the fact that Braverman and former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng have been replaced by ex-Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and ex-Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt means three of the four major offices of state – including that of prime minister – are now held by ministers who voted for Remain to have.
Hunt and Shapps both backed Rishi Sunak, the former Chancellor, for leadership and their elevation has dramatically shifted the balance of power in the Cabinet, away from the right-wing Tory MPs who had primarily backed Truss.
At the Conservative Party Conference, the now-former Home Secretary was criticized by Truss supporters for saying there had been a “coup” after it was announced the 45p tax rate cut had been dropped.
The Prime Minister is said to have had a heated 90-minute argument with Braverman on Tuesday night before she resigned
But in the days since Hunt became chancellor, Braverman has told friends his appointment proves her assessment was correct. And she’s not the only one lamenting recent events. “These changes set the cause of the Tory right back 30 years,” said an appalled former minister.
To her critics, Braverman was a shameless populist and they were appalled at her opportunism to launch her Tory leadership campaign on live television even before Boris Johnson had resigned. Not that it did her much good: she was knocked out in the second round and then lined up behind Truss.
She was in lively form for her last appearance as Home Secretary on Tuesday, roundly taunting opposition MPs for refusing to condemn the Stop Oil protesters: “I’m afraid it’s the Labor Party, it’s the Lib Dems , it’s the coalition of chaos, it’s the Guardian readers, tofu eaters, wokerati – dare I say the anti-growth coalition – to whom we owe the disruption we see on our streets today.’
Labor MPs scoffed, some Tory MPs scoffed, but much of what she said resonates not only with large sections of the electorate but also with the Tory MPs who put Truss in 10th place and who are confused about it the recent U-turns and what is becoming nothing less than a philosophical revolution in the Cabinet.
Her blistering resignation letter suggests Braverman won’t be going quietly. But there’s no doubt that with their departure, the truly conservative low-tax renaissance we were promised a few weeks ago is now dead.