ROCHDALE, ENGLAND - APRIL 3: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (L) and Home Secretary Suella Braverman (R) attend a meeting with the local community and police leaders, following the announcement of a new police task force to help officers tackle grooming gangs, on April 3, 2023 in Rochdale, England. (Photo by Phil Noble - Pool/Getty Images)
In a furious three-page letter to the prime minister, she said he was “lacking in the qualities of leadership that this country needs”.
She said he had ditched every promise he had made to secure her backing to become PM after Liz Truss quit last year, including on stopping the boats and cutting immigration.
Braverman also accused Sunak of failing to do anything to “rise to the challenge posed by the increasingly vicious antisemitism and extremism” she said has been caused by the recent pro-Palestine marches in London.
And in a personal dig, she said Sunak had “no personal mandate” to be prime minister after he lost to Truss in his first leadership bid last year.
Her attack came as the Supreme Court prepares to deliver its verdict on the legality of the government’s Rwanda policy tomorrow morning.
Braverman said: “In October of last year you were given an opportunity to lead our country.
“It is a privilege to serve and one we should not take for granted. Service requires bravery and thinking of the common good. It is not about occupying the office as an end in itself.
“Someone needs to be honest: your plan is not working. we have endured record election defeats, your resets have failed and we are running out of time. You need to change course urgently.”
Braverman’s support for Sunak’s second leadership bid was seen as crucial in ensuring he became prime minister.
In her letter, she says he signed up to cutting immigration and blocking the European Convention of Human Rights’ influence over UK law.
But she said her concerns about the lack of progress in these areas “was often met with equivocation, disregard and a lack of interest”.
She added: “You have manifestly and repeatedly failed to deliver on every single one of these key policies.
“Either your distinctive style of government means you are incapable of doing so. Or, as I must surely conclude now, you never had any intention of keeping your promises.”
Braverman went on: “Your rejection of this path was not merely a betrayal of our agreement. but a betrayal of your promise to the nation that you would do “whatever it takes” to stop the boats.”
On tomorrow’s Rwanda judgment, which No.10 sources believe the government will lose, Braverman said Sunak had “ignored” her calls to change the law to allow the UK to ignore the ECHR on this issue.
“You opted instead for wishful thinking as a comfort blanket to avoid having to make hard choices,” she said.
The former home secretary went on: “I can only surmise that this is because you have no appetite for doing what is necessary, and therefore no real intention of fulfilling your pledge to the British people.”
Braverman’s sacking came after she defied Sunak by publishing an article in The Times condemning the police’s handling of pro-Palestine marches calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.
In her letter to Sunak, she said: “I have become hoarse urging you to consider legislation to ban the hate marches and help stem the rising tide of racism, intimidation and terrorist glorification threatening community cohesion.
“Britain is at a turning point in our history and faces a threat of radicalisation and extremism in a way not seen for 20 years.
“I regret to say that your response has been uncertain, weak, and lacking in the qualities of leadership that this country needs.
“Rather than fully acknowledge the severity of this threat, your team disagreed with me for weeks that the law needed changing.
“As on so many other issues, you sought to put off tough decisions in order to minimise political risk to yourself. In doing so, you have increased the very real risk these marches present to everyone else.”
In response to former home secretary’s scathing letter, the prime minister’s official spokesperson said:
“The Prime Minister was proud to appoint a strong, united team yesterday focused on delivering for the British people.
“The Prime Minister believes in actions not words. He is proud that this government has brought forward the toughest legislation to tackle illegal migration this country has seen and has subsequently reduced the number of boat crossings by a third this year. And whatever the outcome of the Supreme Court tomorrow, he will continue that work.
“The Prime Minister thanks the former Home Secretary for her service.”