“Leaky Sue”: ‘delete and ignore’ email (shred before reading, safer – Owl)

Not to be confused with “Chatty Liz” and her hacked mobile.

Suella Braverman is ‘first-rate’, says Michael Gove as he is confronted with her ‘delete and ignore’ email.

Adam Forrest www.independent.co.uk 

Rishi Sunak was right to reappoint “first-rate” Suella Braverman as home secretary, said Michael Gove, confronted with an email she sent asking someone to delete a message that broke security rules.

The levelling-up secretary defended the prime minister’s controversial decision to bring Ms Braverman into cabinet only six days after she was sacked for a security breach.

Asked if the PM was right to hand her the role, Mr Gove told Sky News: “Yes. Suella is a first-rate, front-rank politician. She has acknowledged the mistake that has been made.”

The senior Tory figure added: “She is a valued member of the cabinet, and someone whom I admire a lot,” later telling the BBC that the prime minister thought “she deserves a second chance”.

Ms Braverman has claimed that she told top government officials about her mistake after sharing a sensitive government document via her personal email.

Appearing on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Mr Gove was confronted with a leaked email showing that Ms Braverman had asked a recipient to “delete the message and ignore” at around 10am, hours before officials were eventually told at midday.

Mr Gove said the request to ignore and delete the email was “standard practice” and would be “quite proper” – going on to claim that Ms Braverman was “absolutely” a politician of integrity.

He added: “I am satisfied, more than satisfied, that in resigning, accepting responsibility, apologising, and then in being assured by the cabinet secretary and the prime minister that Suella coming back into office was the right thing, that Suella is now in a position to do the work that she is dedicated to doing.”

Labour’s shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, said the “delete and ignore” email “adds to the serious list of questions we have about this reckless reappointment of Suella Braverman”.

She told Laura Kuenssberg: “There was obviously the initial breach of the ministerial code, the security lapses involved, but now questions about whether she gave an accurate description of what happened.”

Mr Gove also denied that Ms Braverman had rejected legal advice from top officials on overcrowding at an asylum processing centre in Manston in Kent and the need to transfer people to hotels.

The home secretary was advised weeks ago that migrants were being held for unlawfully long periods at the centre because of the failure to transfer them, multiple sources told The Sunday Times.

Charities told The Independent that asylum seekers were held at the facility for several weeks when it was intended to hold people only for 24 hours, with outbreaks of diphtheria and scabies reported amid the “inhumane” conditions.

“The situation at Manston is not what it should be,” Mr Gove told Sophy Ridge on Sunday. “But it’s important to stress that the home secretary did not ignore or dismiss legal advice. The home secretary was balancing a number of competing imperatives.”

Asked if conditions were “humane”, the minister said: “Yes… We want people to be in appropriate accommodation as quickly as possible. The situation is not perfect, everyone acknowledges that. We have more than 2,000 people there at the moment.”

The Liberal Democrats have called on the government to publish the legal advice reportedly ignored by Ms Braverman that the government has been illegally detaining thousands of asylum seekers.

Andy Baxter from Prison Officers’ Association, who represents staff at Manston processing centre, said Ms Braverman should resign over the issue, telling LBC Radio conditions at the overcrowded facility were “Dickensian”.

Former Home Office adviser Claire Pearsall told LBC she did not think Ms Braverman could survive the week, given the gravity of the Manston-related accusations. “I don’t see how she can stay in position if legal advice is being ignored on something as serious as this.”

Former Tory chancellor George Osborne said No 10 had already calculated and accepted that Ms Braverman would “blow up” as she continues faces flak over her security breach and handling of aslyum seekers.

He told Channel 4’s The Andrew Neil Show: “I think they probably made a calculation in Downing Street that she’s going to blow up – and that’s fine by them because, you know, she’s no fan of theirs and they’re no fan of hers.”

Meanwhile, Mr Gove admitted that the Conservatives owed the public an apology for installing Ms Truss as leader, calling her tax cuts “a holiday from reality”.

The levelling-up secretary said Mr Sunak had been “vindicated’ on the big economic matters after Ms Truss took a “wrong turn” on unfunded tax cuts.