UK's Suella Braverman resigns as interior minister after 43 days, former Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to replace her

Key Points
  • In a resignation letter, Braverman she said she had sent an official document from her personal email, which she said "constitutes a technical infringement of the rules."
  • But the outgoing minister also expressed concern about the breaking of key pledges to voters, and about the government "pretending we haven't made mistakes."
  • The news comes at a hugely turbulent time for the U.K. government, with Prime Minister Liz Truss under intense pressure to resign just two months into her premiership.
Suella Braverman, UK home secretary, arriving at 10 Downing Street to attend a Cabinet meeting discussing the u-turn on the energy crisis, after Kwasi Kwarteng was sacked and replaced by Jeremy Hunt in London, United Kingdom on October 18, 2022.
Photo by Stuart Brock/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The U.K.'s Suella Braverman is resigning from her position as interior minister after just 43 days in the role, she announced Wednesday, citing a breach of rules as well as concerns over the direction of the government.

She will be succeeded by former Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Downing Street confirmed roughly an hour after her announcement. Notably, Shapps did not back Prime Minister Liz Truss in this summer's leadership race and has criticized some of her policies.

In a resignation letter posted to Twitter, Braverman said, "It is with the greatest regret that I am choosing to tender my resignation."

In the letter, she said she had sent an official document — a draft written ministerial statement that had not been published — from her personal email to a parliamentary colleague in order to get support for her policy. This, she said, "constitutes a technical infringement of the rules."

Braverman said that she had realized her mistake and reported it to official channels, but that resigning was the right thing to do. 

In a letter to Braverman posted on the Downing Street website, Truss wrote: "I accept your resignation and respect the decision you have made. It is important that the Ministerial Code is upheld, and that Cabinet confidentiality is respected."

The departure is the latest surprise turn of events for the U.K.'s Conservative Party, whose government led by Prime Minister Liz Truss has come under increasing fire for throwing markets into turbulence and drastically changing policy plans within the span of a few days.

Braverman ran against Truss for the Conservative leadership race this summer but was knocked out in an early stage. She has held past roles as attorney general, from 2020 to 2022, and in the "Brexit" department in 2018.

In her short time as home secretary, beginning with the Truss government on Sept. 6, she has made headlines for outspoken comments on reducing net migration, affirming the controversial policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda, and just on Wednesday morning defending the government's Public Order Bill.

It comes at a hugely turbulent time for the government, with Truss under intense pressure to resign just two months into her premiership after a budget on Sept. 23 sparked chaos in financial markets.

On Friday, Truss fired her finance minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, over the incident, despite having campaigned on the program of tax cuts which set off the chaos.

Kwarteng was succeeded by former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who on Monday proceeded to reverse the majority of the economic policies laid out in the government's mini-budget announced on Sept. 23. Brought in in a bid to calm markets and project an image of stability, Hunt has provoked rumor of being more in control of government than Truss and even a potential successor.

Shapps, Braverman's successor, was not initially given a so-called front bench role by Truss. He was also among the Conservative voices who criticized elements of her tax cut program, saying that the removal of the top rate of income tax had "jarred for people in a way which was unsustainable."

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In her letter, Braverman referred to the wider government, adding that it was "obvious to everyone that we are going through a tumultuous time" and said she had "concerns about the direction of this government."

Braverman said she was concerned about the breaking of key pledges to voters, though did not specifically highlight the recent U-turn on fiscal policy, instead citing pledges to reduce overall migration numbers and small boat crossings to the U.K. Truss and Braverman had been reportedly clashing behind the scenes on revising U.K. migration policy as the nation faces acute worker shortages.

In what could also be read as a message to the embattled prime minister, Braverman said: "The business of government relies upon people accepting responsibility for their mistakes. Pretending we haven't made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can't see that we have made them, and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious politics. I have made a mistake; I accept responsibility; I resign."