Rishi Sunak says he did not let Suella Braverman “off the hook” when it came to how she handled her speeding ticket.
The prime minister decided not to launch a formal investigation into his home secretary following reports she asked civil servants if they could find ways for her to do a speed awareness course either privately or without being seen by the public.
Ms Braverman later accepted a fine and penalty points on her driving licence.
Appearing on ITV, Mr Sunak was asked whether the events of the past week had annoyed him and been a “distraction”.
The prime minister said he “didn’t let her off the hook” – and that he spent “time going through” what happened.
Labour attacks Braverman no show in House of Commons
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He determined there had not been a breach of the ministerial code.
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Mr Sunak said he also spoke to his independent adviser on ethics, Sir Laurie Magnus, who “said we can close the matter here, so that’s what we’ve done”.
It was put to Mr Sunak that Ms Braverman “looked for the option” to break the ministerial code and “took advice” on how to get around it.
He said on This Morning: “She took advice.
“And as she herself has said, she might have done things differently now in hindsight and that’s the right approach.
“She’s apologised, and on the basis of that, the independent adviser said ‘no need for a formal investigation and we can close the matter here’.”
“So that’s what we’ve got.”
He added that Ms Braverman was “just exploring options” about how to progress after being caught speeding.
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It was announced on Wednesday that an investigation would not be launched into Ms Braverman by Sir Laurie.
Mr Sunak was immediately criticised for his decision, with the Liberal Democrats branding it a “cowardly cop-out”.