Monday, 22 May 2023

It’s time to scrap the Ministerial Code

Henry Hill has a useful CAPX piece on the hounding of Suella Braverman via the Ministerial Code.

Suella, the speeding course ‘scandal’ and why it’s time to scrap the Ministerial Code

In Suella Braverman, Rishi Sunak made a rod for his own back. It is almost certain that, had he actually won a leadership contest and assembled a Cabinet on his own initiative, she would not have featured in it.

But to a Prime Minister who inherited his Chancellor, the most important person in his government save perhaps himself, using the Home Office to buy off the right must have seemed like small beer at the time.

It was never likely to end well, though. On a policy level Sunak, as a creature of the Treasury, was unlikely ever to be sincere about reducing immigration.

The whole piece is worth reading as a reminder of how most political actors and Civil Service mandarins strenuously avoid rocking the globalist boat. The Ministerial Code seems designed to assist with that. 

Whatever you think of Braverman and her politics, if that is the sum of the story then it is utterly, bone-crushingly trivial.

Yet rather than focus on such triviality, opposition politicians and commentators alike can clutch their pearls and claim breathlessly that she broke the Ministerial Code! A form of words which, as the Code compasses misconduct from the grossest to the pettiest, has the happy side-effect of turning pretty much anything into a sacking offence.

It also encourages Sunak to outsource his thinking to poor Sir Laurie, rather than making a five-minute political judgement and carrying the can for it.


Sam Vega said...

Yes, the Ministerial Code is an outsourcing of decisions that should be made by any decent Prime Minister. I suppose it gives them time to reflect, as well, and gives the illusion that something is being done.

If Sunak doesn't really want Braverman in his cabinet, though, and would prefer some pushover who will allow anyone into the country, then why doesn't he strike now?

Scrobs. said...

Script writen by Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn...

Second series, 'Yes Prime Minister'!

Watched it just the other day!

DiscoveredJoys said...

It's almost as if The Powers That Be will use anything, just anything, to bring the Non-bland Politician to heel. Departure from the hallowed path to global “Kum Ba Yah” is not permitted.

So Boris was offed by 'cake', Truss by the Bank of England pearl clutching, Raab for being a 'bully', and now Suella Braverman for the crime of revealing the mulish resistance of the Civil Service (dressed up as a Ministerial Code offence).

Some disgruntled people reach for 'lawfare'; it appears that others reach for 'codefare'. It's a poor way to allow the country to be run.

decnine said...

I thought that Liz Truss's Chancellor was Kwasi Kwarteng? Jeremy Hunt is a self-inflicted wound.

Anonymous said...

Braverman's mistake was, allegedly, asking a civil servant, rather than a solicitor, to try and arrange a one to one speed awareness course. If she had attended a normal course, where would the security of a government minister be? Also, the MSM would have a field day in humiliating her for describing her sitting next to white van Dave, while being chastised for her crime. The civil service is, in the main, a bunch of lefties determined to do what they legally can to disrupt, or get rid of, any government minister who has different views to them.The

A K Haart said...

Sam - I assume Sunak thinks that pushing her out will feed internal opposition, but this level of prevarication makes him look weak.

Scrobs - it was a warning we should have heeded as well as treating it as comedy.

DJ - I agree, we seem to have lost political oversight. Probably happened a while ago, but now it has been confirmed by the Ministerial Code.

decnine - I think Jeremy Hunt was appointed shortly before Liz Truss resigned.

Penseivat - I think that's so and Sunak has effectively confirmed it, his choice of ministers needs to be their choice too or they will bring down ministers they don't approve of.