It has been alleged that Suella Braverman told a staffer to “delete and ignore” a sensitive email which was sent to the wrong recipient. The email was sent on October 19, the day that Ms Braverman resigned for breaching the Ministerial code.
There was a nearly two hour gap between the time the recipient alerted the Home Secretary and her response.
The email and the timing have cast doubt on the Home Secretary’s claim that she “rapidly reported” the mistake through official channels.
The original email was sent to the wrong person at 7.52am, the recipient informed Ms Braverman of the mistake 38 minutes later.
At 10.02am, the Home Secretary sent the reply: “Please can you delete the message and ignore.”
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove was shown the email Sunday morning on Laura Kuenssberg’s BBC show.
The Cabinet minister was quick to defend Ms Braverman who was reappointed as Home Secretary after Rishi Sunak became PM.
He called Ms Braverman a “first-rate, front rank politician” and added that she was someone who “I admire and like”.
He said: “I’m sure there’d be all sorts of inferences that people can draw, but it would seem to me on the basis of the facts that I know.
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“That would have been quite proper for the Home Secretary to have said to the recipient of something that was sent an error ‘please do delete and ignore it’. That is standard practice.”
Mr Gove said the message was intended for another Member of Parliament and added: “So it’s not as though it was being sent out into the ether to persons unknown.”
However, Labour were quick to attack the Prime Minister for reinstating Ms Braverman to the Cabinet position.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper repeated Labour’s call for Rishi Sunak to sack Ms Braverman.
“It was a huge error of judgement to reappoint her in the first place. There’s still also further questions about whether she was involved in other leak inquiries around sensitive legal advice being made public,” Ms Cooper told Times Radio.
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She added: “You can’t play fast and loose with national security issues. You have to take it seriously, you have to have a home secretary who is trusted by the intelligence and security services as well.
“This is just not sustainable, Rishi Sunak made a big mistake putting party and political interests before the national interests.”
However, the Prime Minister has defended his decision to reinstate the Home Secretary and has said he was “confident she’s learned from her mistake”.
He added: “The Home Secretary has acknowledged the mistake, she recognised she made a mistake, she’s taken accountability for that and that’s the right thing.”