Suella Braverman calls on Rishi Sunak to go after ‘trans ideology’ ahead of possible cabinet return

Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman

Suella Braverman wants new prime minister Rishi Sunak to tackle “trans ideology”.

The shortest-serving home secretary of modern times, who resigned from her post on 19 October, set out her view on what Sunak ought to prioritise as prime minister.

Writing in The Telegraph hours before Sunak was confirmed as the new Tory leader, Braverman suggested human rights laws could be gutted to “stop the boats crossing the Channel”, and that the UK must leave the European Court of Human Rights’ jurisdiction in order to proceed with the Rwanda refugee plan.

Sunak has previously said “all option are on the table” regarding leaving the ECHR, and is a supporter of the Rwanda plan.

Braverman also suggested that trans lives could be erased from the classroom.

She wrote: “We need to take a firm line on trans ideology in our schools and in our public sector for the safeguarding of our children cannot be compromised. …

“I am reassured that Rishi understands the enormity of these problems and will not shy away from making the hard decisions needed to fix them.”

The Times’ political editor said Braverman’s article “gives an insight into what to expect from a Rishi Sunak government”, with some viewing the piece as her pitch for a cabinet post.

Sunak was confirmed as Britain’s next prime minister on Monday (24 October), after his only rival Penny Mordaunt conceded the leadership race.

It’s been widely said that in order to prevent another Liz Truss-style collapse, Sunak will need to unite the various factions of the Conservative party.

One way of doing this would be to appoint ministers from across the party – from hard-right figureheads like Braverman and Kemi Badenoch, to those considered more centrist, like Mordaunt.

It’s unclear how extensive a reshuffle Sunak might undertake – the chancellor’s position seems safe, given that another change at No 11 might spook the markets. But it would be unusual for a new prime minister to not make at least a few appointments.

Nadhim Zahawi has been equalities minister since 6 September – it’s given third ranking in his official government biography, after his roles as chancellor of the Duch of Lancaster and minister for intergovernmental relations.

There’s no evidence that Zahawi has yet engaged with the equalities brief, and it would be easy for Sunak to reassign it without too much fuss.

Braverman could be in the running for the role, should it become available, along with Penny Mordaunt, who held the brief under Theresa May between 2018 and 2019 (though Mordaunt would surely also want a more senior post in tandem).

Others who may figure into a reshuffle are Kemi Badenoch, the trade secretary who ran against Sunak in the summer, but sat this leadership race out.

She came to prominence as a junior equalities minister until she resigned from Johnson’s government. During the time, she met with the anti-trans LGB Alliance, and described trans women as “men” in a leaked audio recording. She is currently international trade secretary.

Priti Patel could also make a return to government – she resigned as home secretary under Boris Johnson.

There has even been speculation that Johnson could be offered a post in order to promote party unity – but after his astonishing decision to go after the party leadership, and then pull out of the race, he may not accept.

“I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time,” Johnson said, confirming that he would not go up against Sunak.