Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Suella Braverman criticised by cycling campaign group for “avoiding public scrutiny” over speeding offence

“Over and over again we see senior politicians and others in public life not only caught speeding, but attempting to dismiss that as an issue and often getting away with no real consequences”

London Cycling Campaign has criticised Home Secretary Suella Braverman for not taking the dangers of speeding on road seriously after she committed an offence and allegedly requested civil servants to arrange a private speed awareness course, thus looking to “avoid public scrutiny” and “dismiss the danger caused to others by speeding”.

Braverman was caught speeding in a 50mph zone last summer when she was attorney general, and given the option of accepting a fine and points on her licence or attending a speed awareness course.

According to the Sunday Times, she allegedly asked civil servants to help her to arrange a one-to-one course to avoid the embarrassment of being recognised by fellow participants. When civil servants declined to do so, she sought other options including taking an online course without revealing her identity. Ultimately, she opted to pay the fine. reached out to London Cycling Campaign, and Simon Munk, Head of Campaigns told us about the concerns this raises for the state of safety on British roads and drivers’ attitude towards speeding and the dangers caused by it.

He said: “Surveys tell us that a majority of UK drivers admit to speeding routinely. We have an enforcement and justice system that tolerates this and more, frequently lets off dangerous, even killer drivers for tearing apart lives, families and friendship circles with little or no consequences. And all while the evidence shows speeding is one of the primary causes of serious and fatal collisions.

“Anyone in public life, let alone someone responsible for the public’s safety, attempting to stand above the public on this issue and avoid an appropriate punishment is deeply concerning. Even more concerning is that over and over again we see senior politicians and others in public life not only caught speeding, but attempting to dismiss that as an issue and often getting away with no real consequences.

“We’ve also heard from those who have attended speed awareness courses that part of the benefit of the course is having others talking about the terrible excuses they’ve given themselves for speeding and indeed offenders having to confess their own excuses to others. Trying to sidestep that to avoid public scrutiny not only misses the point of the course, it also dismisses the danger caused to others by speeding.”

More traffic trouble for the Tory Government?

News of Braverman’s offence came after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was fined for his failure to wear a seatbelt last year. Within the last year, two of Braverman’s ministers at the Home Office were banned from driving for six months. The immigration minister, Robert Jenrick, was caught driving almost 30mph over the limit and the security minister, Tom Tugendhat, was caught driving while using a mobile phone.

> Green Party: Government’s “anti-cycling narrative” creates danger for cyclists

David Ward, the executive president of the Towards Zero Foundation, which campaigns to reduce road deaths across the world, also came out in criticism of the Home Secretary, stating politicians were “normalising” breaches in road safety.

He said: “There is a worrying trend, whether its Rishi Sunak’s failure to put on a seatbelt or now Suella Braverman, when senior politicians really ought to be setting a better example.”

He added: “Going on a course in public is part of the penalty – by trying to somehow make it private, she was in effect trying to mitigate the impact. This makes it doubly complacent.”

However, notorious lawyer acclaimed for earning ‘not guilty’ verdicts for celebrities charged with driving offences and outspoken and self-proclaimed road safety expert Mr Loophole, or Nick Freeman came to Braverman’s defence.

> Mr Loophole applauds police action against "vigilante cyclists" filming law-breaking drivers

Mr Loophole said: “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 wrong with that.”

Can Braverman be forced to resign for a speeding offence?

Meanwhile, Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), representing civil servants have released a statement: “Breaking the ministerial code doesn't appear so much to be a lapse of judgement as of a pattern of behaviour. Suella Braverman is quick to criticise civil servants when it suits her, but even quicker to ask for their help when she needs it.

“Civil servants' role is to deliver government policy not to act as her personal assistants. How many more lives will Rishi Sunak give her? This is double standards. If she was a PCS Union member she would not expect to be treated so leniently.”

> Government slammed for not informing public of Highway Code changes aimed at protecting cyclists and pedestrians just days before they come into effect

The Labour leadership has also called for investigation into the claims, and demanded that she should go if she broke ministerial rules. Braverman has already breached ethics before under the short-lived Liz Truss government and had to resign as Home Secretary back then, before being reappointed by Sunak.

Besides, there's already a precedent for ministers landing in hot waters for speeding offences. In the past, Labour MP for Peterborough Fiona Onasanya was ejected from parliament by a recall petition after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice in 2018, by lying to avoid a speeding fine.

The Lib Dem minister Chris Huhne also resigned from the coalition cabinet in 2012 and ultimately served time in prison over an arrangement in which his wife had taken speeding points on his behalf 10 years earlier.

Braverman, however, has claimed that she is “confident that nothing untoward happened”.

Adwitiya joined in 2023 after finishing his masters in Journalism from Cardiff University, with a dissertation focusing on active travel. He's currently living in Cardiff and for the most part moans about the abruptly ending cycle lanes, if he's not cursing the headwind. Adwitiya also covers local and national politics for Voice Wales, and sometimes dabbles in topics related to science, tech and the environment. Cycling became a part of his life just a couple of years ago, and now he can't think of a single reason why anyone would drive if they could cycle. He usually uses his bike for commuting, but he also loves excursions on the Taff trail, however never underestimate his ability to find an excuse to watch something on GCN instead.

Latest Comments