OPPOSITION politicians rounded on Rishi Sunak over his re-appointment of Suella Braverman less than a week after she quit for breaking the ministerial code at his first PMQs.

The new Tory party leader, who took on the top job on Tuesday morning, spent his first day in office reshuffling Cabinet posts and appointing ministers.

Braverman’s selection was by far the most controversial and Labour and the LibDems have both called for an inquiry into how it occurred within less than 24 hours of her being back in post.

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Just six days earlier she had been forced out by Liz Truss as the shortest-serving minister as Home Secretary over a security breach.

Braverman was caught sending veteran backbench Tory Sir John Hayes, a fellow right-winger, an official document from a personal email account.

Both SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer attacked Sunak over the appointment during their slot at Wednesday’s PMQs.

Blackford, who challenged Sunak to uprate benefits in line with inflation but did not receive a clear answer from the PM, said that the appointment showed a “return to sleaze” in a nod to Boris Johnson’s era.

The SNP MP said: “Speaking of mistakes, yesterday the Prime Minister appointed a Home Secretary who was forced to resign only last week for breaching the ministerial code and boasted that she dreamed of sending vulnerable asylum seekers to Rwanda.

“We all know why he appointed her – a sleazy backroom deal to shore up his own position.

"Far from being a fresh start this is a return to the sleaze and scandal and ghosts of Cabinets past.

“The prime minister promised to govern with integrity and humility, so if he has an ounce of either, will he admit his mistake and sack the Home Secretary without a delay?”

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Reports say that Sunak agreed to give Braverman her position back if she were to come out in support of him for the prime minister's role, something she did in an article for The Telegraph over the weekend. 

Sunak replied to Blackford by mentioning his late-night call with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday, adding that it was important he spoke to her on his first day in office so he could “express my desire to work constructively with the Scottish Government”.

His predecessor Truss did not make an equivalent call during her 49 days in office.

He went on to say that he plans to “deliver for the people of Scotland”, but then immediately took a pot-shot at the SNP.

He added: “Indeed I hope crime is one of the things we can collaborate on, because he will know that violent crime is rising in Scotland and police numbers are falling, whereas here we are increasing police numbers.

“I look forward to working with the Scottish Government on our shared challenges because I believe in a strong United Kingdom.”

Earlier, Starmer had asked simply if the Home Secretary was “right to resign last week for a breach of security?”

%image('16088177', type="article-full", alt="Rishi Sunak speaking during PMQs in the House of Commons, London, his first as Prime Minister.")

Sunak replied: “The Home Secretary made an error of judgment but she recognised that, she raised the matter, and she accepted her mistake.

“That is why I was delighted to welcome her back into a united Cabinet that brings experience and stability to the heart of Government.”

He then accused Starmer of being soft on crime.

Starmer pointed out that the Prime Minister had promised to bring “integrity, professionalism and accountability” to the UK Government on the steps of Downing Street.

The Labour leader asked: “I know firsthand how important it is that we have a Home Secretary whose integrity and professionalism are beyond question. So, have officials raised concerns about his decision to appoint her?”

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Sunak replied: “I just addressed the issue of the Home Secretary.

“He talked about fighting crime, I would hope that he would welcome the news today that there are over 15,000 new police officers on our streets and the Home Secretary will be supporting them to tackle burglaries, while the party opposite will be backing the lunatic protesting fringe that are stopping working people going about their lives.”

Braverman was caught out after she accidentally copied in someone she believed was Hayes’s wife, but was in fact an aide to Conservative MP Andrew Percy, who raised the alarm.

She argued it was merely a draft written ministerial statement on immigration that had been due for publication imminently.

%image('16087175', type="article-full", alt="Braverman's reappointment to Sunak's Cabinet was the most controversial ")

Allies said she sent it after going on a 4am immigration raid before coming clean about her “mistake”.

One told the PA news agency: “She was not expecting at all to be sacked over it.”

But officials said the file was sent much later and that the Cabinet papers had first been forwarded from her ministerial account to a private Gmail account before going elsewhere.

Braverman was deemed to have twice breached the ministerial code, setting out how members of the Government must behave – or face punishment.

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In her fiery resignation letter to Truss, Braverman accepted she was guilty of a “technical infringement of the rules”.

The information contained in the document was also argued to have been market sensitive because they could have implications for Office for Budget Responsibility growth forecasts.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly justified her reappointment by stating that Sunak had accepted her apology for the “mistake” and claimed they wanted an “experienced” Home Secretary in post – despite Braverman only taking over the role from her predecessor Priti Patel for six weeks before she was forced out.