THE reappointment of Suella Braverman as Home Secretary is an “accident waiting to happen” and shows a continuation of the post-Brexit politics of the Boris Johnson era, according to a historian.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sparked a huge backlash after announcing her role in his new cabinet, just six days after she was forced to dramatically resign for breaching the ministerial code over a serious security breach.

Opposition politicians have widely condemned the move, saying it is at odds with Sunak’s pledge to bring “integrity” to Number 10.

Labour has said it will try to force the Government to publish its assessments of Braverman’s security breach, as well as the information given to Sunak before he reinstalled her at the Home Office, Her reappointment has not been scrutinised, with Sunak yet to fill the vacancy for independent adviser on ministerial ethics – a role that has been unfilled since June.

The Home Secretary – who has been dubbed “Leaky Sue” – previously triggered a huge outcry when she said it was her “dream” and “obsession” to see asylum seekers deported to Rwanda.

Dr Martin Farr, senior lecturer in contemporary British history at Newcastle University, said the Prime Minister had taken a gamble that his party’s voters were more interested in politicians tackling issues which matter to them.

The National: Dr Martin Farr, senior lecturer in contemporary British history at Newcastle UniversityDr Martin Farr, senior lecturer in contemporary British history at Newcastle University (Image: Dr Martin Farr)

“Essentially I think he has made a mistake in reappointing Braverman, but he has made the calculation that immigration is more salient than the integrity of ministers,”

he said.

“The curious thing about it is that [Sunak’s] central platform for being Prime Minister was integrity.”

Farr pointed to Sunak’s response when he was quizzed by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer over the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions last week, with Sunak emphasising Braverman’s role in tackling immigration.

Defending the appointment, Sunak told MPs: “She 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.

“She will be focused on cracking down on criminals and on defending our borders, while the opposition remain soft on crime and in favour of unlimited immigration.”

Farr said appointing Braverman – a staunch Brexiteer who is a figurehead of the Tory right – was part of the Brexit approach which prioritised demonstrating loyalty over integrity or competence.

“The Johnson and the Truss cabinets were very weak as they were so unbalanced,” he said.

“Governments are usually broadly based, because the practice is you have a coalition within a party to avoid having coalitions outside the party, so the most effective administrations have a spectrum of opinions. And that wasn’t the case with the last two.

“Sunak has tried to do that and it is a stronger cabinet certainly, but it is a complete own goal to have had [Braverman] in.”

Farr said the other dimension to “Brexitism” is the idea of “ignoring rules and bypassing things which are inconvenient”.

He added: “It is knowing that if you double down on the things that matter to you and your constituents, taken very broadly for your constituency and the country, what matters more is that we are ‘getting immigration done’ and we are ‘getting Brexit done’.

“There are rules, but you can change them – before Brexit, the British way of doing things was flexible and it evolved and we weren’t constrained by things like term limits for presidents, for example.

“But the other side is, if the rules of the game aren’t observed, if conventions break down – then you could end with someone as you ended up with Johnson, who is a complete narcissist and makes things up.

“What he was part of is slightly enduring and I think Braverman is connected to that.”

Farr also said having Braverman back in the Cabinet made the issue of whether Sunak would appoint an ethics adviser more difficult.

The last Independent Adviser on Ministerial Interests was Lord Geidt, appointed by Johnson, who resigned in June this year after conceding the then prime minister may have broken the ministerial code over the partygate scandal.

Liz Truss did not move to appoint an ethics adviser during her short time in office, but also signalled she would not do so during her leadership campaign. Sunak has pledged to fill the role, with Downing Street saying this would be “done shortly”.

Farr said: “The extraordinary thing is by appointing [Braverman] it makes it less likely – because the first thing you would get is people calling for the ethics adviser to investigate the Home Secretary.”

He said it was sign of weakness by Sunak, adding: “I think she is an accident waiting to happen – she was last time and she will be again.”