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Suella Braverman and Rishi Sunak have exchanged letters about the home secretary’s actions after she was fined for speeding last summer. 

The letters come after Ms Braverman faced accusations of breaking the ministerial code by involving civil servants in her efforts to avoid a group speeding awareness course.

In a three-page letter to the prime minister, Ms Braverman laid out her version of events, and Mr Sunak responded by saying “further investigation is not necessary”.

Read the full letters below.

From Suella Braverman to Rishi Sunak

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing to provide further information in relation to my receipt and handling of a speeding ticket, which has been the subject of recent media interest.

Around June 2022, while Attorney General, I was found to be speeding. I received notification that I could take a group speed awareness course or receive a fine and three points on my licence, which was clean at the time. I opted to take the course and booked a date in Autumn.

After arriving at the Home Office in September as Home Secretary, I informed officials in my Home Office Private Office (PO) about the course and asked whether it was appropriate given my new role. This reflected my lack of familiarity with protocol relating to my newly acquired official status as a ‘protected person’, which means I am required to have a close protection security team overseeing my movements, and with me always in public. This involves close protection having knowledge of and involvement in many areas of what would otherwise be considered my ‘private life’, not related to my work as a Minister or Member of Parliament.

In discussions with my Principal Private Secretary (PPS) I was advised that the Cabinet Office’s Propriety and Ethics Team (PET) would be the best source of advice on whether it was appropriate to seek to do the course in a way that protected my privacy, security, and was least disruptive to the course participants and provider. I readily agreed to this suggestion. Consequently, on 28 September 2022 my PPS discussed this with the Permanent Secretary’s Office. The Permanent Secretary’s Office, at the request of the Permanent Secretary, then asked PET for guidance (noting that their own initial view was that this was not a matter for civil servant involvement) and asked if they were aware of any precedents and for any advice. PET advised it was not an appropriate matter for civil servants to take forward. My PPS also rightly pointed out that I needed to be mindful to ensure that I did not ask a company to change their rules due to my position, which neither I, nor to the best of my knowledge anyone acting on my behalf, ever sought to do. My PPS confirmed that I could continue discussing the matter with Special Advisers, and asked them to pick up with me. I made no further requests of officials.

I therefore later engaged with Special Advisers about how we would enable my participation in a way that would maintain my security and privacy. This was to determine whether there were other options possible within the overall framework and rules of the provider.

My preference at this point, following consultation with my Special Advisers, was to attend a group course in person rather than online due to privacy concerns. Participation in a speed awareness course is supposed to be private, and Special Advisers raised concerns about the risk of me being covertly recorded while participating online, and the political ramifications of this. PO and the Permanent Secretary’s officials also had previously advised that participating online risked generating media interest.

However, Special Advisers raised concerns about the difficulties of ensuring the appropriate security arrangements for an in-person course. Their concerns included that my protective Security team might need to join me in the room or be unable to undertake appropriate vetting of other course participants owing to third party privacy concerns.

Special Advisers then contacted the course provider to better understand the range of appropriate options that might be available – and consistent with the course provider’s rules, policies and practices. Based on this further information, I concluded that none of these could satisfactorily address the aforementioned security, privacy and political concerns. I therefore opted to take the points and pay the fine, which I did in November.

I accept that I was speeding and regret doing so. At no point did I try to avoid sanction. My actions were always directed toward finding an appropriate way to participate in the speed awareness course, taking into account my new role as Home Secretary and the necessary security and privacy issues that this raised. My interactions with officials intended to provide appropriate clarification of the options available to me in my role as Home Secretary. Whenever I was informed that a possible option was not available, I accepted that. At no point did I instruct officials to behave contrary to the advice that was provided.

I considered the involvement of my Special Advisers appropriate, given the logistical, security, privacy, media, and therefore political considerations involved. I regret that my attempt to find a way to participate in the course in a manner that would have satisfied these concerns has enabled some to construe a potential conflict of interest. With hindsight, I acknowledge that the better course of action would have been to take the points and fine upfront.

The Ministerial Code sets out that Ministers must provide a list of all interests which might be thought to give rise to a conflict. It does not define what should be included, but it does specify the different types of interests. These are all framed around the responsibility for avoiding a conflict of interest between Ministers’ public duties and their private interests, and tend to relate to ongoing circumstances or relationships. Recognising the importance of integrity and transparency, I approach my declarations with great care and consideration.

The purpose of the form is to declare anything which might interfere, or be perceived to interfere, with a Minister’s integrity when making decisions in the public interest. I did not consider that a speeding infringement or attending a speed awareness course, needed to be disclosed. It is not an ongoing situation with the potential to influence my decisions. In general, minor driving offences tend to be excluded from official forms. For example, barristers are not required to inform the regulator of minor speeding infractions; similarly, these are excluded if you are asked about any criminal history when you apply for a visa to the UK, or in the annual security questions asked of civil servants in the Home Office with heightened security clearance. I note that PET has, since November 2022, introduced references to fixed penalty notices in their introductory discussions with new ministers, recognising that the position was unclear given these are not currently explicitly covered by Ministerial interest forms. I am grateful for this clarity, and in the future would declare any similar speeding course or fine.

As I outlined, I informed my officials of the speeding and driving course, and the Permanent Secretary’s office was involved in the conversations as described above, determining whether it was appropriate for civil servants to engage with the security and logistics of me attending this course. It was never suggested by anyone in my PO or the Permanent Secretary’s Office that I needed to disclose the situation on an updated form. I also understand that, despite being aware of events at the time, at no point did the Permanent Secretary or Cabinet Office suggest that my actions resulted in a conflict of interest or merited any investigation.

I am deeply committed to all the Nolan Principles of Public Life, including honesty, integrity and openness, and I regret that these events have led some to question my commitment. I have at all times been truthful and transparent, and taken decisions guided by what I believed was right and appropriate given my office, not by any personal motivation. Another principle, of course, is leadership: Ministers must hold themselves – and be seen to hold themselves – to the highest standards. I have always strived, and will continue to strive, to do this.

As I say, in hindsight, or if faced with a similar situation again, I would have chosen a different course of action. I sought to explore whether bespoke arrangements were possible, given my personal circumstances as a security-protected Minister. I recognise how some people have construed this as me seeking to avoid sanction – at no point was that the intention or outcome. Nonetheless, given the fundamental importance of integrity in public life, I deeply regret that my actions may have given rise to that perception, and I apologise for the distraction this has caused.

I hope this clearly sets out my involvement in this matter and provides you with all relevant information. Should you require any further information, I will of course be happy to provide it.

Yours sincerely,

Suella Braverman

From Rishi Sunak to Suella Braverman

Dear Home Secretary,

Thank you for your letter and for your time discussing these matters with me.

Integrity, professionalism and accountability are core values of this Government and it is right and proper that where issues are raised these are looked at professionally to ensure the appropriate course of action is taken.

I have consulted with my Independent Adviser. He has advised that on this occasion further investigation is not necessary and I have accepted that advice. On the basis of your letter and our discussion, my decision is that these matters do not amount to a breach of the Ministerial Code.

As you have recognised, a better course of action could have been taken to avoid giving rise to the perception of impropriety.

Nevertheless, I am reassured you take these matters seriously. You have provided a thorough account, apologised and expressed regret.

It is vital that all those in Government maintain the high standards the public rightly expects. I know you share this view, just as we are committed to delivering on the issues that matter to the British people – from making our streets safer and reducing net migration to stopping the boats.

Yours ever,

Rishi Sunak

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Wayne Lineker thanks friend for taking him to hospital after Ibiza incident

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Wayne Lineker thanks friend for taking him to hospital after Ibiza incident

Wayne Lineker has thanked a friend for taking him to hospital after a “disturbing” incident in Ibiza earlier this week, which left him with “stitches and a swollen lip” after he tried “to protect a girl from being harassed”.

The 62-year-old, who is the younger brother of former England footballer Gary Lineker, shared an Instagram story praising his pal after a video circulated earlier this week, showing him in an altercation outside a bar on the Spanish island in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

He was reported to have been knocked out for several minutes after being punched in the jaw by another man following a confrontation.

Wayne re-shared a photo showing him drinking a couple of raw juices and gave “very special thanks” to his friend, cafe owner Daniel Onions.

Wayne thanked him “for looking after me for many hours after the event took place, taking me [to] hospital, and making sure I got home safe and ok”.

Onions re-shared his post, commenting: “What friends are for”.

The Celebs Go Dating star later shared a short video on Instagram, with two of his resort employees joking with him that “sometimes, you’ve just got to take it on the chin”.

Proving the blow hadn’t knocked his sense of humour, Wayne annotated the video, writing: “Hahaha gotta see the funny side. Take it on the chin.”

Earlier this week, Wayne shared a photo showing him in sunglasses, and with a cut to the right side of his chin, giving a thumbs up, at his friend’s wellness cafe.

Wayne has his own businesses in Ibiza, and owns the beach resort O Beach on the island, and has other resorts on the Spanish mainland and in Majorca.

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Wayne wrote: “I wanted to write this post to let everyone know that I’m doing ok… I have a few stitches and a swollen lip.

“It could have been much worse so I count myself very fortunate I wasn’t standing two yards further back, as my head would have impacted the wall.

“Obviously the video is very disturbing to see especially for my family.

“The papers were very accurate and it was a simple case of me just trying to protect a girl from being harassed.

“Thank you everyone for all your messages of concern the support has been really overwhelming.”

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His nephew, and son of Gary Lineker, commented: “LOL: “Lowest of the low”.

Wayne is understood to be estranged from his brother and has previously said they no longer talk.

It’s not known if anyone has been arrested over the incident.

Sky News has contacted Wayne for further comment.

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South Africa’s ANC reaches deal with opposition to form unity government

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South Africa's ANC reaches deal with opposition to form unity government

A unity government has been formed in South Africa with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and its largest rival, the Democratic Alliance (DA), signing a deal, an official has said.

The ANC, which lost its parliamentary majority in a May election, agreed to enter into a government of national unity
with parties including the DA, the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Patriotic Alliance, public broadcaster SABC reported.

The ANC won just 40% of the vote, forcing Nelson Mandela’s legacy liberation movement to negotiate a power-sharing agreement with rival parties for the first time in 30 years.

Senior DA negotiator Helen Zille on Friday confirmed her party and the ANC had signed a deal for a unity government.

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After spearheading talks of an alliance with opposition parties, Cyril Ramaphosa, 71, was on Friday set to be elected for a second five-year term as president of Africa’s most industrialised economy.

The ANC losing supporters in the last vote meant it needed MPs from parties that were once its main political foes to now support Mr Ramaphosa and continue the ANC’s three-decade hold on the presidency.

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ANC supporters dance outside a polling station during the election. Pic: Reuters
Image:
ANC supporters dance outside a polling station during the election. Pic: Reuters

‘A new era’

The deal marks the start of a new era in South African politics as the ANC has been in power since the election of Mandela back in 1994.

Following two weeks of intensive talks with opposition parties, Sihle Zikalala, a member of the ANC’s governing body, said in a post on X: “Today marks the beginning of a new era where we put our differences aside and unite for the betterment of all South Africans.”

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The newly elected National Assembly – where the ANC holds 159 of its 400 seats, while the DA has 87 – began proceedings with the swearing-in of MPs.

The chamber was then due to elect its speaker and deputy speaker before the country’s president is nominated.

The ANC’s main reservation about joining forces with the pro-business DA had been that while the party is liked by investors because of its free-market policies, it is unpopular with its own voters who see it as a defender of the privileged white minority’s interests.

The ANC has over the last decade seen its support dwindle amid widespread poverty, a stagnating economy, rising unemployment, and power and water shortages.

The poverty disproportionately affects black people, who make up 80% of the population and have been the core of the ANC’s support for years.

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Scots party in Munich ahead of Euro 2024’s opening game against Germany

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Scots party in Munich ahead of Euro 2024's opening game against Germany

Even before Euro 2024 kicks off, Scotland fans think they have won something – the partying.

The bagpipes in Bavaria signalled the Tartan Army are back.

Thousands of Scots – many in kilts carrying crates of beer – packed into Munich’s Marienplatz on the eve of the curtain-raiser against Germany.

Not that you’d realise the hosts were at their own party, with few Germany shirts and flags in sight here.

Scotland fans in Munich ahead of tomorrow's match against Germany REUTERS/Leonhard Simon
Image:
Pic: Reuters

But they were making the visitors feel welcome, particularly the placid police allowing beer to be downed through the centre late into the night.

This is the start of Germany’s biggest-ever policing deployment for a major sporting event.

But in Munich, officers kept their distance as melodies of “Flower of Scotland” and “We’ve got McGinn. Super John McGinn” boomed through the packed side-street of the main square.

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Scotland fans in Munich ahead of tomorrow's match against Germany REUTERS/Leonhard Simon
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Pic: Reuters

The sound of glass crunching could be heard as midnight approached – the detritus of a day’s drinking.

Scots soaking in the atmosphere, drinking it all in.

It’s been 26 years – at the France 98 World Cup – since Scotsmen competed overseas at a major football tournament.

Scotland fans in Munich ahead of tomorrow's match against Germany REUTERS/Leonhard Simon
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Pic: Reuters

“It’s amazing – we see all the videos, we see everyone landing into Munich in their numbers,” Scotland captain Andy Robertson said last night.

“We made a big point, the manager, when he first came in, to try and get them back onside because the home support maybe nosedived a little bit because of performances on the pitch.

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John McGinn swaps the Highland Fling for the ‘Schuhplattler’ as Scotland prepare for the Euros.

“But the away support was always incredible. The away ends were always sold out and they always like a trip abroad.

“And there’s a lot of them over here and we hope to make them proud. We know all of them can’t get into the stadium, we wish they could, it would help us.”

Scotland fans in Munich ahead of tomorrow's match against Germany REUTERS/Leonhard Simon
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Pic: Reuters

After decades living in the shadow of England, the stage is Scotland’s before the Three Lions campaign begins on Sunday against Serbia.

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Steve Clarke is the first manager of Scotland to secure consecutive qualification to European Championships.

The last one, held in 2021, was a more muted affair, with games only in Britain and pandemic-curtailed crowds.

Scotland lost both games at Hampden Park, but they did celebrate a draw against England at Wembley.

Scottish pipers walking from Odeonsplatz to Marienplatz, Munich.
Pic: PA
Image:
Pic: PA

So it doesn’t seem as daunting facing Germany at Bayern Munich’s stadium as Scotland try to make it out of the group stage for the first time at a major tournament.

But Germany haven’t won a knockout stage game since Euro 2016.

“One of the mantras we’ve always had is to respect everyone and fear no one,” Clarke said.

“So we come here with a lot of respect for the host nation. We know that they are a good team, but hopefully on the night we can show that we are a good team as well.”

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