Suella Braverman: The resignation of the Minister of the Interior and the chaos in the conservative parliamentary group put Liz Truss on the ropes | International
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The Government of Liz Truss is breaking down at a forced pace. The Minister of the Interior, Suella Braverman, the favorite candidate of the hard and eurosceptic wing of the party tory during the last primaries, he presented his resignation this Wednesday. She has told the prime minister face to face, after a stormy control session in the House of Commons in which Truss has assured that she “was a fighter and not a person who gives up”. The situation of the prime minister is increasingly untenable. Late in the day, she also put on her desk the resignation of the head of the parliamentary group, Wendy Morton, unable to contain the growing rebellion of the conservative deputies. The Government finally convinced her to continue in her position.
Suspicions that the day, once again, was getting complicated for Truss arose when Downing Street cancelled, with barely an hour’s notice, a planned visit to an electronics company, where he was also going to attend to the media. communication.
Braverman – who supported Truss during the primaries, once she was eliminated, and defended her when the first attempts at rebellion arose in the party – has explained in his resignation letter that he is leaving the Government due to his own mistake in terms of security . “Today I have sent an official document from my personal email to a trusted deputy colleague, with the purpose of gathering support for the Government’s immigration policy (…) As soon as I realized the error, I communicated it through official channels (…) As Minister of the Interior, I must respond to the highest levels of ethical demands, and the right thing to do is to resign,” Braverman wrote.
However, his explanation sounds more like an excuse than anything else, because in the same text he made it clear that he is concerned about “the drift of the current government.” “Not only have we failed to fulfill commitments to our voters, but I have serious doubts about the will of this Executive to comply with our electoral program, such as reducing the number of immigrants, and eliminating illegal immigration,” said Braverman.
In recent weeks, buried under the enormous commotion created by the failed tax cut, there had been a growing tension between the head of the Government and her head of the Interior regarding the 2019 electoral promise to reduce the number of immigrants and act with harshness against attempts to enter the country through the English Channel. During Boris Johnson’s mandate, Minister Priti Patel notably toughened the country’s immigration laws, and even promoted, against the British courts, the policy of deportations to the African country of Rwanda, a measure that provoked harsh criticism from organizations humanitarian organizations, the Anglican Church and even the then Prince of Wales and now King, Charles III. Braverman arrived at the position with the intention of preserving, and even increasing, that toughness. But Truss herself was toying with the idea, multiple media outlets reported, of turning on the tap and expanding the quota of immigrants to help fuel economic growth.
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Even the way in which Braverman has justified his resignation – the need to correct an error such as the breaking of the ministerial code of ethics, when transmitting confidential information – was a veiled way of criticizing the recent attitude of Truss, who after creating a storm in the markets and among the conservatives with his tax cut, he had turned 180 degrees and presented the whole disaster as a simple mistake and intended to move forward as if nothing had happened. “Governing means assuming your own mistakes. Pretending that we haven’t made any mistakes, moving on as if no one had seen them, and hoping that, as if by magic, everything will straighten out, is not serious politics. I made a mistake. I have taken responsibility. I have resigned ”, has written the former Minister of the Interior. It was notorious the message that she underlay in her words, and the recipient to whom she was addressing.
Truss has immediately replaced Braverman with former minister Grant Shapps, precisely one of the first to organize the rebellion against the prime minister as soon as she announced the tax cut and spread panic to the markets. Shapps was, and is, the “Excel man”, referring to his close monitoring of the public pronouncements and private regrets of his fellow Conservative Party members. His ability to control the mood and tendencies of all the deputies in the parliamentary group greatly helped Boris Johnson, at the time, to control the rebellions against him. Shapps is a useful ally and a dangerous enemy. The move, many critics interpret, would have served the prime minister to incorporate the party’s moderates and critics into the government – a task that has already begun with the new finance minister, Jeremy Hunt. The goal would be to stabilize his own situation. But this will be complicated, because Braverman’s departure marks the beginning of a new plot against Truss, precisely from the most radical wing of the Conservative Party, the only one that still expressed timid support for his continuation in Downing Street.
the second resignation
The Labor opposition has deployed a strategy of harassment and demolition against a prime minister in low hours, whose Achilles heel has been the continuous rectifications and rudder changes in her decisions. In the 2019 Conservative election platform, the Conservative Party pledged to uphold the ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the controversial technique of extracting, with high pressure techniques, the hydrocarbons contained in the parent rock, “unless science categorically demonstrates that it can be done safely”.
Faced with the energy crisis created by the invasion of Ukraine, Truss promised during the primaries that he would lift that ban. He used as bait that the Government would seek the consensus of the affected residents, and also promised compensation of up to 1,200 euros per home. The move, however, remains deeply unpopular, and Labor has managed to get Parliament to debate a motion that sought to impose a definitive ban on fracking.
In a moment of extreme weakness, the Truss government has warned rebel Conservative MPs willing to vote in favor of the motion that it would expel them from the parliamentary group. Truss can’t afford much more questioning of his authority. “Are we going to lose our status as Conservative MPs if we vote for or abstain? Are we talking about a motion of confidence?”, the deputy has claimed tory Ruth Edwards to the Secretary of State for Energy, Graham Stuart, who had the thankless mission of defending the Government’s position in a stormy debate. “That question will have to be resolved by the party leadership,” Stuart responded, to laughter from Labor and protests from the Conservatives present.
The motion has been rejected, because nothing unites the Conservatives more than defeating the opposition in the House of Commons, but several MPs from the The opposition have described scenes of tension at the entrance to the corridors where the members of the Chamber are divided to vote. “I had never seen scenes like this at the entrance to the corridors. The Tories in full war. The leadership of the group yelling at his colleagues. They are finished,” Labor’s Ian Murray wrote on Twitter. Chris Bryant, the Labor deputy who chairs the Parliamentary Ethics Committee, called for an investigation at the end of the debate, for alleged harassment. “I have seen how some deputies were shaken and pushed into the corridor to vote in favor of the Government,” said Bryant.
The boss of the whip (whips), those in charge of promoting and guiding the vote of the rest of the colleagues and maintaining party discipline, Wendy Morton, who has a position with ministerial rank, has submitted her resignation, according to the newspaper Daily Telegraph. By late night, Downing Street was loath to confirm that information, and Truss’s team was all about convincing Morton to reconsider a decision more the result of spontaneous frustration than premeditated idea. Finally, they managed to convince her to stay in her position. 326 Conservative MPs, out of a total of 357, have voted against the Labor proposal. The Government hardly had time to celebrate a Pyrrhic victory, because, together with the leader of the group, it also threatened to throw in the towel number two, Craig Whittaker, Secretary of State level. Truss gained another day of survival, by increasing the internal tension in the parliamentary group. It remains to be seen how tough he can afford to be with the rebels, because the last thing he needs at this point is more enemies.
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