Suella Braverman: Daughter of immigrants trying to 'stop the boats'

She has previously served as attorney general and as a junior Brexit minister

Suella Braverman's mother was a nurse and her father worked for a housing association. PA
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Suella Braverman, a daughter of immigrants, has risen to become one of the most high-profile figures in British politics.

She now finds herself in charge of Britain's immigration policy and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's mission to "stop the boats" carrying people trying to enter the country.

As part of that brief she is also looking at wider international reform of the ways refugees are treated and the laws used to enforce their rights.

The post of Home Secretary is one of the biggest in government, with controlling the domestic police and counter-terrorism services part of the remit.

Ms Braverman was made Home Secretary twice in a matter of weeks having been forced out of Liz Truss’s short-lived Cabinet over a security breach, only to be re-employed by Mr Sunak.

The 43-year-old previously served as attorney general and as a junior Brexit minister.

She was also the first Tory MP to launch a bid to succeed Boris Johnson in last summer’s leadership contest. After being knocked out, the former barrister threw her support behind Ms Truss.

She is the daughter of parents who immigrated into the UK in the 1960s from Kenya and Mauritius.

Her mother became a nurse and her father worked at a housing association.

They lived in Wembley, north London, and Ms Braverman started education at a state primary school before being awarded a scholarship to a local independent school.

At Queens College Cambridge University she read law, then completed a master's in European and French Law at the Pantheon-Sorbonne in Paris.

She has said: "I’m a Conservative because we are the party that says it doesn’t matter where you start. It's about where you are going.

“You can make your life and that of others better by taking responsibility, self-empowerment and service. Aspiration, to me, means rewarding endeavour, enabling compassion and liberating people from the shackles of the state."

Ms Braverman was elected MP for Fareham in May 2015.

As Home Secretary she has thrown her weight behind strict immigration policies that include the plan to send some migrants arriving in the UK to Rwanda.

In a speech at the Conservative Democratic Organisation, she said: “I’m not embarrassed to say that I love Britain. No true conservative is. It’s not racist for anyone, ethnic minority or otherwise, to want to control our borders.

“I reject the left’s argument that it is hypocritical for someone from an ethnic minority to know these facts; to speak these truths.

“My parents came here through legal and controlled migration. They spoke the language. They threw themselves into the community, embraced British values.

“When they arrived they signed up to be part of our shared project because the UK meant something to them. Integration was part of the quid pro quo.”

At a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, a centre-right think tank in Washington DC, on Tuesday, Ms Braverman was setting out a blueprint for international efforts to tackle the refugee crisis.

“It is therefore incumbent upon politicians and thought leaders to ask whether the Refugee Convention, and the way it has come to be interpreted through our courts, is fit for our modern age, or whether it is in need of reform,” she will say, according to excerpts released before the speech.

She has previously targeted the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) signed in 1950, claiming it restricted the government’s efforts to introduce tough policies such as the scheme to send some migrants arriving in Britain to Rwanda.

She has also visited Rwanda where she was shown the centre set up to house migrants from the UK. No migrants have been sent there yet amid a barrage of legal challenges.

Mr Sunak made stopping the boats arriving from France one of his five key policies as Prime Minister.

The English Channel sea route has become a magnet for human traffickers in the past five years, as they try to encourage more and more refugees across the busy shipping lane and into Britain.

Legislation trying to make asylum claims inadmissible from those who travel to the UK across the Channel on small boats is working its way through the Commons.

Updated: September 27, 2023, 12:02 PM