Suella Braverman faces fresh criticism over her security breach claims, as well as on the alleged illegal detention of asylum seekers. The Home Secretary quit 10 days ago while Liz Truss was in Number 10 after breaching security rules relating to email use, before being reappointed when Ms Truss became the former – and Rishi Sunak the new – Prime Minister.
Ms Braverman has said she reported her mistake “rapidly” to officials, but an email, seen by the BBC, told the recipient of a sensitive message to “delete and ignore” it.
The broadcaster added that it now understands “it took hours for [the Home Secretary] to respond”.
One source, speaking in Ms Braverman’s defence, said: “The Home Secretary has been clear that once she realised she’d made this error of judgment she proactively reported it on official channels. These events need to be seen in the context of a very packed schedule. She recognises she made a mistake, apologised and offered her resignation to the PM.”
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, asked about the email, also said: “I am sure there are lots of inferences that can be drawn.”
He added that it would be inappropriate to “rush to judgement”.
Ms Braverman has also today been accused of having “ignored advice” over the alleged illegal detention of thousands of asylum seekers.
The Home Office received advice at least three weeks about warning that migrants were being detained for unlawfully long periods of time at the Mansion asylum processing centre in Ramsgate, Kent, according to the Sunday Times.
Five sources told the paper that Mrs Braverman was told the breach needed to be resolved urgently.
Two added that she was risking a public inquiry given the Government had no chance of defending legal action against the detaining.
There are currently around 2,600 migrants at the Kent site, despite this being designed to hold a maximum of 1,600.
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Most are understood to have arrived in the UK by crossing the Channel from France.
Some, according to reports, have been held at the centre for up to four weeks.
Asylum seekers are, however, meant only to be in Manston for no more than 24 hours during checks.
The supposed ignoring of legal advice could now cost the taxpayer millions.
One Government source said: “The Government is likely to be JR’d [judicially reviewed] and it’s likely that all of them would be granted asylum, so it’s going to achieve the exact opposite of what she wants.
“These people could also launch a class action against us and cost the taxpayer millions.”
Another added: “The law has been broken… It is an entirely illegal situation.
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“You can’t just detain people. The department is basically in despair.”
Writer Tim Shipman stressed that the Home Secretary was not just told of the situation once but “repeatedly”.
He said: “This legal advice, we’re told, explicitly said not that ‘if you carry on doing this you might break the law’ but that ‘you are already breaking the law’.”
The Home Office said that claims Mrs Braverman “deliberately ignored” legal advice as “completely baseless”.
A spokesperson said: “The Home Secretary has taken urgent decisions to alleviate issues at Manston and source alternative accommodation. It is right that we look at all available options so decisions can be made based on the latest operational and legal advice.”