Rishi Sunak believes in “action not words” and will continue tackling small boat crossings, No 10 has said in response to a scathing attack letter by Suella Braverman in which she accused the prime minister of “betrayal” and failing to deliver on key policy areas.
Downing Street said the prime minister was “proud to appoint a strong, united team” after Ms Braverman, sacked as home secretary in a cabinet reshuffle on Monday, accused him of being “weak” and claimed to have a “document” outlining her conditions for entering government.
“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,” a No 10 spokeswoman added. “And whatever the outcome of the Supreme Court tomorrow, he will continue that work. The PM thanks the former home secretary for her service.”
Ms Braverman, who was sacked after a series of controversial comments about homeless people and the police, published her explosive letter on Tuesday evening, some 24 hours after promising she would have “more to say” in a brief statement following her exit from the government.
The incendiary letter, designed to cause maximum damage to Mr Sunak, accused him him of leaving the country in an “impossible position” with no “credible Plan B” just hours before a crunch court ruling on his flagship Rwanda plan.
Ms Braverman, one of the leading figures on the right of the Tory party, also urged Mr Sunak to “change course urgently”, telling him he has led the Conservatives to “record election defeats” and that his “resets have failed and we are running out of time”.
The sacked home secretary claimed she had posed her own "credible" back-up - without which she said there is "no hope of flights this side of an election" in the event of a court defeat - but received no reply.
"Worse than this, your magical thinking - believing that you can will your way through this without upsetting polite opinion - has meant you have failed to prepare any sort of credible ‘Plan B’," she said.
She also alluded to a deal she struck with Mr Sunak in the leadership contest. At the time her backing was seen as crucial to his campaign. She said she had agreed to return as home secretary – after she was sacked by Liz Truss – on “certain conditions” including taking action on the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)’s effect on small boats legislation.
That agreement was a “document with clear terms”, she said, adding: “I trusted you.” But she accused Mr Sunak of “equivocation, disregard and a lack of interest”.
Opposition parties jumped on the latest bust-up at the top of government, with the Liberal Democrats accusing the Conservatives of “yet more chaos”.
“Suella Braverman failed at every task at hand as home secretary and now she seems determined to drag everyone else down with her,” the party’s home affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael said in a statement. “While people struggle to see their GP or pay their mortgages, this government is too busy dealing with their own infighting.”
“When will this Conservative Party soap opera end?”