Suella Braverman appointed
UK Home Secretary in
cabinet reshuffle

On Monday 5 September it was announced that Liz Truss will become the new leader of the Conservative party and succeed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, after beating former Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the party leadership vote.

Just hours after the announcement, Priti Patel revealed that she would step down from her role as Home Secretary in a resignation letter to Boris Johnson. The move came as Liz Truss prepared to name her new cabinet on Tuesday. It had been widely speculated that the new Prime Minister was not expected to ask Ms Patel to remain in the position.

Ms Patel was appointed Home Secretary by Mr Johnson in July 2019, and described her three-year stint in the post as the “honour of her life”. Despite the role of Home Secretary having far-ranging responsibilities, from policing and crime to national security and borders and immigration, it is her often controversial policies on the latter that Patel will most likely be remembered for.

During her time as Home Secretary, Patel helped to push through radical reforms to the UK’s points-based immigration system following the UK’s departure from the European Union, including the launch of several new work routes to help British businesses attract overseas talent.

However, this lasting legacy is likely to be overshadowed by some of the more controversial policies she was well known for promoting in her so-called “firm but fair” approach to immigration and asylum – namely, the attempts to push back on small boat crossings and the Rwanda removal scheme.

In her resignation letter, the former Home Secretary wrote: “We have used our Brexit freedoms to take back control of our immigration laws with a new points-based immigration system. Our historic Immigration Act has ended free movement and taken back control of our borders. We can now attract the brightest and best from around the world to the UK rather than face the adverse effects of uncontrolled free movement.  

Our New Plan for Immigration means that at long last what the British people want is reflected in immigration policy, ending abuses of the immigration and asylum system.”

Ms Patel signed off by congratulating Ms Truss on her victory and stating that she will now head to the backbenches where she will continue to champion many of the policies she has stood for.

Who is the new UK Home Secretary?

Hours after taking over at 10 Downing Street, the new Prime Minister revealed which ministers had been appointed top jobs in her new cabinet.

Following the reshuffle, it was announced that former Attorney General Suella Braverman has been appointed as the UK’s new Home Secretary. Braverman accepts the role after running to be the leader of the Conservative party herself in the latest leadership contest.

The qualified Barrister and married mother of two was born in Harrow, north-west London and went on to study law at Cambridge University. Both of her parents spent time in local politics after emigrating to the UK from Kenya and Mauritius in the 1960s.

Despite describing how her father moved to the UK in 1968 in order to flee ‘political turmoil’ in his homeland of Kenya, Braverman has been described as ‘to the right’ of her predecessor, and is expected to take an even harder line on migration during her time in office.

In her new role, Braverman is expected to move quickly to sideline the European convention on human rights (ECHR) – which was used to stop the attempted deportation flight to Rwanda.

What’s next for UK immigration?

Smith Stone Walters anticipates that the new Home Secretary’s immediate priorities relating to migration will be to continue her predecessor’s projects regarding the Rwanda asylum scheme and curbing small boat crossings.

However, as with any major leadership shake-up within government, further policy changes impacting other areas of immigration and border control could be on the horizon.

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