Suella Braverman's popularity falls after her address to right-wing conference

The home secretary set out her ideas on immigration in a wide-ranging speech at the conference on Monday.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman speaking during the National Conservatism Conference at the Emmanuel Centre, central London. Picture date: Monday May 15, 2023. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Suella Braverman speaking during the National Conservatism Conference. (Getty)

Home secretary Suella Braverman's popularity has fallen a day after she addressed a right-ring Conservative conference, according to a poll.

Braverman was the star attraction at the National Conservatism Conference in Westminster on Monday.

The Tory MP set out her ideas on immigration in a wide-ranging speech that has since been be viewed in the context of her leadership ambitions.

But on Tuesday, a YouGov poll showed she had lost three percentage points in favourability rating among senior British politicians.

The latest politician favourability statistics from 14 to 15 May showed that Braverman was at 14%, prime minister Rishi Sunak remained at 31%, and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was at 35%, down two points from 5 to 9 May.

Braverman's popularity was still above her fellow Conservative MP Kemi Badenoch (12%), who is also seen as a potential future Tory leadership candidate.

It comes after Braverman spoke about "the importance of controlling legal migration" during her speech.

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She said: "It's not racist for anyone, ethnic minority or otherwise, to want to control our borders."

After her remarks, Downing Street insisted the focus on cutting net migration was in line with the government's approach.

But Sunak's announcement on Wednesday that more seasonal fruit pickers would be allowed into the UK seemed to contradict Braverman's push for lower migration.

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The prime minister confirmed during a farming summit in Downing Street that an extra 10,000 visas could be made available on top of the 45,000 currently allocated to the agricultural sector.

Sunak said the government was responding to the needs of farmers with the extra visas.

He told the gathering of farmers and other food producers: "We've already expanded the seasonal worker visas for horticulture and poultry through to next year."

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Braverman had said the country could train its own fruit pickers and when asked if more Brits should be trained to do this job, a No 10 spokesman said "absolutely".

They added: "Another area we're investing in is automation. We're providing extra support to help industry with that move.

"That would be another way to help put a downward pressure on costs."

There has been speculation of a split in Sunak's cabinet on immigration, with some members – including chancellor Jeremy Hunt – more keen than others to stress the benefits of migration for economic growth.