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‘Who’s most right wing? I am!’: Suella Braverman’s shameless leadership bid

The Home Secretary is misusing one of the great offices of state on her ‘Succeed Sunak’ world tour. She may pose as tough on immigration, writes John Rentoul, but her would-be backers will remember she’s done nothing to stop the small boats….

Tuesday 26 September 2023 17:00 BST
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<p>Home Secretary Suella Braverman is set to express concern about the Refugee Convention</p>

Home Secretary Suella Braverman is set to express concern about the Refugee Convention

Washington DC is a long way to go to launch a bid for the leadership of the British Conservative Party. Perhaps, like Keir Starmer, who has just been to The Hague, Montreal and Paris, Suella Braverman thinks that being photographed abroad makes her look prime ministerial.

So the home secretary is delivering a speech to the American Enterprise Institute that might as well be entitled, “Why I Will Be the Right-wing Candidate Next Time.” I don’t know what dull title she actually gave it, but that is what she meant. She came sixth in the leadership election last year, but hopes to do better if the party should find itself looking for a new leader after election defeat.

She plainly subscribes to the conventional wisdom that whichever of the final two candidates whose names are put to the party members is seen as more right wing, will win. It didn’t apply to David Cameron vs David Davis in 2005, and it should not have applied in the last two contests. There was nothing about Boris Johnson, apart from Brexit, that was more “right-wing” than Jeremy Hunt; and Rishi Sunak was the more authentic Conservative against his former Lib Dem, former Remainer, borrow-to-splurge opponent.

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