Braverman admits sending official documents to her personal email on six occasions

Politics

Suella Braverman has admitted sending official documents from her government email to her personal email address on six separate occasions.

In a letter to the Home Affairs Select Committee, she apologised again for breaching security rules and set out her version of the events leading to her resignation under former prime minister Liz Truss.

A review undertaken by the Home Office confirmed she had used her personal email address to send an official government document, and in her letter Ms Braverman added: “I had sent official documents from my government email to my personal email address on six occasions.

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“The review confirmed that all of these occasions occurred in circumstances when I was conducting Home Office meetings virtually or related to public lines to take in interviews.”

Ms Braverman is expected to make a statement in the House of Commons this afternoon.

She is facing a second scandal amid the worsening Channel crisis and overcrowding at the Manston processing centre.

Labour have accused her of being silent on the issue as there were still questions over her “own security breaches”.

In her letter, the home secretary insisted the four-page document containing high level migration policy proposals did not contain any information relating to national security and was not marked top secret.

She said the reason for sending the documents to her personal phone was because she was often joining meetings virtually and while in transit.

Ms Braverman said: “It was not possible to use a single device to conduct the meetings and read the documents at the same time.

“Therefore, I had occasionally and exceptionally emailed them to my personal email account so that I could read the documents in order to conduct essential government business.”

Mrs Braverman’s team maintain – as she wrote in her resignation letter – that she flagged the incident rapidly and brought it to the attention of the cabinet secretary, Simon Case.

Others have claimed the cabinet secretary did not find out about the breach from Mrs Braverman.

Here is the timeline of events as she has laid them out in her letter:

-7.25am: Sent an email from personal account to Rt Hon Sir John Hayes and his secretary, but entered an incorrect address, sending document to someone else “unintentionally and unknowingly”
– 9am: Went into back-to-back meetings
– 10am: Checked personal emails, saw reply to someone she does not know saying ‘this has been sent to me in error’ – “realised I had made a mistake”
– 10.02am: Replied saying “please delete and ignore. Thanks”, then went into meetings
– 11.20am: Met two constituents
– 11.50am: Bumped into then Chief Whip Wendy Morton and Andrew Percy MP “by coincidence” who said my email had gone to a member of his staff and “he was concerned”
– 12pm: Returned to parliamentary office to “take action regarding my mistake”

Ms Braverman said when she realised she had sent the email to a staffer of MP Andrew Percy by accident, she “decided to inform my officials as soon as practicable”.

But before informing the civil service, she said she bumped into the chief whip and Mr Percy “by coincidence”, who raised his concerns to her.

After this meeting, Ms Braverman asked a special adviser to tell her private secretary what happened, and the issue was then flagged to the cabinet secretary and prime minister’s office.

The home secretary insisted: “As a result of my actions, the cabinet secretary was told for the first time.”

She added: “Separately, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the chief whip had also notified the prime minister of this issue. This was not known to me until after these events.”

‘More unanswered questions, more confusion and more chaos’

Labour said the letter “leaves more unanswered questions” over Ms Braverman’s “irresponsible conduct” – including whether the prime minister ignored the cabinet secretary’s advice in reappointing her.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said it is also “astonishing” the home secretary “needed to seek an additional briefing on ‘what constitutes appropriate use of government and personal IT’.

“This therefore leaves more unanswered questions, more confusion and more chaos from the home secretary and the government. It shows why Rishi Sunak was so irresponsible in reappointing her to her post,” she said.

Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain said the home secretary “has admitted breaking the rules on an industrial scale” and “must resign now”.

PM ‘has full confidence’ in home secretary

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Yvette Cooper speaks to Sophy Ridge on Sunday about security concerns regarding the home secretary.

The letter follows days of criticism levelled at new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for reappointing Ms Braverman, despite promising to govern “with integrity” when he took office.

Labour has been urging the government to publish its assessments of Ms Braverman’s security breach, with leader Sir Keir Starmer accusing Mr Sunak of brokering a “grubby deal trading security for support” in the Tory leadership contest, which he won after receiving Ms Braverman’s backing.

In the letter, Ms Braverman said she had apologised to Mr Sunak when he entered No 10 and publicly repeated that apology.

“In my appointment discussion with the new prime minister, I raised this mistake and apologised to him, and would like to do so again here,” she said.

“I also gave the prime minister assurances that I would not use my personal email for official business and reaffirmed my understanding of and adherence to the ministerial code.”

Following the letter’s publication, Downing Street said the PM has full confidence in the home secretary.

The spokesman also said Mr Sunak was reassured Ms Braverman understood the subsequent advice given to her.

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