OPINION - The Standard View: Speeding row catches up with Suella Braverman

 (Christian Adams)
(Christian Adams)

While playing the role of statesman at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, shaking hands and signing agreements with fellow world leaders, the Prime Minister has been forced to address the matter of his Home Secretary and a speeding ticket.

Suella Braverman faces questions over claims that she asked civil servants to arrange a private speed awareness course, which may have breached the ministerial code. Consequently, Rishi Sunak is set to meet with his ethics adviser, Sir Laurie Magnus, over whether to launch an investigation. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has already stated that Braverman should quit if she is found to have breached the ministerial code.

Allies of the Home Secretary say the episode is a “smear campaign” but this is about establishing the facts. This is necessary after a newspaper reported that her team denied six weeks ago she had received a speeding ticket.

A private speed awareness course would not only have allowed Braverman to avoid three points on her licence and a fine but could also have enabled her to keep the speeding a secret. If proven, it would, at minimum, indicate highly questionable judgment from someone who was at the time Attorney General, Britain’s top law officer.

The Prime Minister is a self-avowed follower of due process. If he feels unable to act on the facts placed in front of him, he should ask Sir Laurie to carry out an investigation. And if that finds Braverman to have broken the ministerial code, she should go.

Martin Amis had it all

He was an era-defining writer at a time when such accolades are growing ever rarer. He influenced contemporaries and young writers alike with his wit, style and firm grip over the English language. And he was, as Rohan Silva puts it in these pages, a great chronicler of London.Martin Amis, who has died at the age of 73, was all of these things and more.

Given his impact, both in this country and abroad, the literary landscape will be irrevocably changed without him. But his legacy will no doubt be upheld by generations old and new who return to his great works.

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Notably, 2023 marks the first time that more women have entered the competition than men. Designer Pollyanna Wilkinson will be creating an installation on women in gardening history. And even the weather is set to be warm and sunny for the show’s duration. Admirers, rejoice!