Suella Braverman is the “author of her own misfortune” over speeding points allegations – but did “nothing untoward” by reportedly trying to arrange a private awareness course, a lawyer has said.
After the Home Secretary was caught speeding outside London while attorney general last summer, she reportedly asked Home Office aides to help organise a one-to-one course to help her avoid incurring points on her licence.
Nick Freeman, known as Mr Loophole for winning celebrities’ cases on legal technicalities, said providers often prefer high-profile people to take private speed awareness courses as it is “less distracting” for others on it.
However, he said Mrs Braverman should have treated her alleged speeding offence as a “private matter” by getting a lawyer to deal with it.
Mr Freeman told the PA news agency: “(Mrs Braverman) wanted to do a one-to-one, there’s nothing untoward about that, I’ve had many clients who have arranged a one-to-one.
“On occasions the course providers contacted us and said, ‘I know you’re asking for such and such, would you mind if we have the course just exclusively for that particular person?’
“The reason behind it tends to be they want people attending the course to concentrate on the contents of the course and not on the people who are actually at the course.
“So if you’ve got a world class footballer or world class actor or musician, you don’t want people looking thinking, ‘oh wow, guess who’s on my course!’, they want to be tuning into what the course is about.
“So there’s nothing untoward about that, there’s nothing wrong with that.”
The Sunday Times reported that Mrs Braverman asked Home Office aides to help organise a one-to-one driving awareness course.
Officials refused the request so Mrs Braverman allegedly turned to a political aide to assist her in attempting to arrange an alternative to having to attend a course with other motorists.
The Cabinet minister ultimately chose instead to accept three points on her driving licence.
Rishi Sunak was under pressure on Sunday to launch an investigation into whether she breached the ministerial code.
Mr Freeman went on: “I think there’s a great deal of political mileage that’s been made by people who are suggesting that she’s done something underhand, she hasn’t.
“Whether or not she should have used other civil servants to assist her is something that politicians will deal with and not me.
“My own view is that if you commit an offence of speeding or any offence, it’s a private matter and you should deal with it on a private basis and you shouldn’t be using tax-funded employees to help you out with that private problem.
“So that’s the potential for political fallout for her, but not in asking or requesting a course on a one a one-to-one basis – there’s nothing improper about that at all.
“If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
The lawyer went on to tell PA the Home Secretary should have “come clean immediately” and accepted responsibility.
He added: “She’s the author of her own misfortune; one for speeding, two for speaking to civil servants about arranging the course, three for not getting a lawyer to deal with it for her and four for not coming out straight away and holding her hands up.”