Only one PM candidate voted against Theresa May’s ‘non-Brexit’ each time

The other seven candidates all voted for it on every occasion

Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2022

Facts4EU.Org turns the Brexit spotlight on Attorney General Suella Braverman

Facts4EU.Org remains non-partisan. It is not appropriate for us to endorse any candidate but it is appropriate for us to consider the record on Brexit of any candidate for Prime Minister.

In this report we look at ‘underdog’ Suella Braverman. As things stand she would not make it through to the final two, but if ‘a week is a long time in politics’ it’s practically a lifetime when it comes to the Conservative leadership election. A lot can change.

Whilst many column inches are being devoted to other candidates, the Attorney General has been written about rather less. Today we put that right. Most of what follows are her own words and we leave readers to judge.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

  • Candidates: Kemi Badenoch, Suella Braverman, Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat and Nadhim Zahawi
  • MPs will start voting at 1.30pm today, with the results expected at 5.00pm
  • We review the candidates’ voting record
  • Suella Braverman is the only candidate to have consistently voted against Mrs May’s abominable deal
  • We look at Suella Braverman’s views on Brexit, immigration, ECHR, cost of living, wokery, identity politics, cancel culture

Do any readers remember 2019 and the succession of Theresa May’s ‘Meaningful Votes’?

In 2019 our Remain-voting Prime Minister, Theresa May, tried in every way possible to get her ‘Brexit’ deal through Parliament. On 15 January it was voted down. She tried again on 12 March. Again it was voted down. Undeterred, she presented it for a final time on 29 March. It failed yet again.

These were turbulent times for Brexiteers. We were confronted by a proposed Brexit deal of such disastrous proportions for the UK that - had it passed - it would have been possible to hear the cheers coming across the Channel from Brussels’ EU HQ.

The voting record of all eight candidates on Theresa May’s ‘non-Brexit’ deal

[Source: Official record in Hansard, Houses of Parliament.]

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2022 - click to enlarge

The simple fact is that Suella Braverman voted on all three occasions against Mrs May’s deal with the EU. The other seven candidates voted for it on every occasion.

What are Mrs Braverman’s chances of making it?

When it comes to the first stage of the contest, all candidates are reliant on votes from their fellow MPs. So far it looks like a challenge for the Attorney General to get into the top two who will then go forward to an election by 160,000 Conservative party members. (See our ‘Observations’ at the end of this article.)

However when it comes to the wider electorate, things look very different.

On Brexit – Excerpts from Parliament speech in the first debate on Theresa May’s ‘deal’

All the candidates have finessed their views on Brexit in this leadership contest. However, here is Mrs Braverman in early 2019 prior to voting against Mrs May’s Brexit deal.

“I am grateful to be able to speak in this historic debate before what will be one of the most important votes of my career, if not my lifetime. It brings me no pleasure whatever to make this speech: I have never rebelled against the Conservative party and I have never taken a stance against my leader. But my duty to my constituents and my contract with the nation mean that I must speak frankly and vote with my conscience against this deal. It is the reason why I resigned as a Minister from the Department for Exiting the European Union in November.

The simple truth is that this deal is not Brexit. It is neither what a majority of voters in Fareham voted for in the referendum nor what 80% of voters backed at the general election. But we are being told that, yes, it does honour the referendum and take back control of our laws, our money and our borders. Call me a pesky lawyer, but that does not stand up to scrutiny.”

“The legal reality is very different from the slogans. The deal continues our subjugation to EU laws during the implementation period and the backstop: the UK will have no say whatever on those rules and regulations. After the backstop, we have no guarantee whatever that the UK will be able to diverge. The jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will persist thereafter and our courts will not have the final say on many matters.”

“After we technically leave the EU in March, we will be legally bound to pay £39 billion for many years thereafter. For what? Nothing.”

“At this crossroads in our history, we are being fed a diet of doom and pessimism - a choice between surrender and catastrophe - but our nation is greater than that. We can salvage Brexit before it is too late. We can ditch this deal: we can honour the British people for our great nation.

- The Rt Hon Suella Braverman QC MP, House of Commons, 15 Jan 2019 (From Hansard)

And bringing things up to date on Brexit…

I saw Brexit as the most important political decision of my life. My views are not triangulated or calibrated. They are as much a part of me as my DNA.”

- Suella Braverman in the Telegraph, 09 Jul 2022

Brexit was not a revolution, it was a restoration. After decades of subservience to Brussels we finally got back the powers Edward Heath gave away. Some think that these powers won’t change anything. I don’t share that belief. But powers are only as good as our will to use them. Otherwise we’ll be back in the EU sooner than you think.”

- Suella Braverman in the Times, 12 Jul 2022

Suella Braverman’s views on related matters

1. Immigration

“In the 2019 manifesto we committed to ‘take back control of our borders’. Around 10,000 illegal migrants have made the Channel crossing so far this year, compared to 5,917 in the same period last year. On current trajectories that could mean 60,000 will arrive on our shores this year. This does not look like a country that has ‘taken control’.

“As Attorney General, it is obvious to me – and has been for some time – that the problem is the European Court of Human Rights. To take back control of our borders we must make it clear that illegal channel crossings are not a way into this country.”

2. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)

“I count myself lucky to be British. We have inherited a set of rights that are second to none. As Attorney General – and as Prime Minister – I would proudly protect this inheritance. MPs will need no reminding that this Parliament was an early adopter of many of the rights now in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

“The truth is that transferring decision-making powers means you might get decisions you don’t like. That is what we saw recently with the grounding of the Rwanda flight. Our Supreme Court agreed that it was legal for the flight to depart. Strasbourg did not.”

“Leaving the ECHR is the only solution which solves the problem, and is entirely consistent with international law. It puts us in good company – with Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. With like-minded democracies we could draft a Common Law Rights Charter, encouraging others to make a political commitment to stand up for rights globally.

“Taking this step will be controversial. Our establishment can’t conceive of a world without the ECHR. But if you ask Commonwealth lawyers or legislators from outside Europe, “would you want your Parliament to be second-guessed by a foreign court?” Invariably, they would say “no”. Once and for all, we should truly bring rights home.”

- Suella Braverman, writiing in ‘The House’, 12 July 2022

3. Cost of living

“Get government spending under control. Cut VAT on energy – and reduce the planned tax increases that are putting off investment. We must remember that every pound we spend comes out of your pocket first.”

- Suella Braverman in the Telegraph, 09 Jul 2022

“Tax policy has sunk into the mud of a Blairite big state consensus. Conservatives have forgotten that cutting taxes stimulates growth. Halt the planned corporation tax rises and reverse the increases in national insurance and the investment-stalling windfall tax. We should reduce demand on the state in the long term by encouraging stronger families and communities. We need to break through the bottlenecks in our economy, like housing and energy generation. Taxes are not just too high — they’re too complicated, encouraging evasion and discouraging investment. Expert-led tax simplification will make life easier for businesses big and small.

“This Conservative government must cut VAT on energy — including in Northern Ireland — and curb spending. … We should be seriously looking at whether it is sensible to retain tariffs on imported food — that makes everyone’s weekly supermarket bill more expensive.”

- Suella Braverman in the Times, 12 Jul 2022

4. Education, wokery, cancel culture, sexual identity

“When I was growing up, the symbol of our party was the torch of liberty. Argument is always better than censorship. Let’s not go down the identity politics rabbit hole. Single-sex spaces are perfectly normal, especially in schools.

“A great education got me where I am today. I wanted to give others that chance. With Katharine Birbalsingh I helped set up Michaela Community School in Wembley, as chair of governors for its first four years. It was founded on principles that used to work in education, but were thrown away by all but the best public schools: discipline, responsibility, and knowledge. This should drive our approach across the board.”

- Suella Braverman in the Telegraph, 09 Jul 2022

5. Climate change and ‘Net Zero’

"Napoleon derided Britain as a nation of shopkeepers. We’re in danger of becoming a nation of regulators. Some say we should rely on legacy Brussels regulations forever – which only makes sense if we’re planning to re-join. Let’s make our own rules, and grow the economy beyond the confines of London, rather than sacrificing our recovery on the altar of Net Zero."

- Suella Braverman in the Telegraph, 09 Jul 2022

6. Northern Ireland

“Bringing Northern Ireland back within the United Kingdom is essential. Restoring balance to the Protocol will bring stability, safeguarding the legacy of Trimble and Hume.”

- Suella Braverman in the Telegraph, 09 Jul 2022

“The Northern Ireland Protocol Bill needs to be changed so that it actually solves the problem. That means VAT, excise and medicines should be under UK law from day one — currently they are not. The bill’s “dual regulatory regime” lets EU law flow into Northern Ireland in perpetuity. We need to sunset that and provide a mechanism for moving to Mutual Enforcement. Otherwise we’re giving Brussels a legislative blank cheque. These are all changes I’ve been fighting for while in government. Without them, the bill treats people living in Northern Ireland as second-class citizens.”

- Suella Braverman in the Times, 12 Jul 2022


As stated at the start of this article, Facts4EU.Org cannot endorse any particular candidate. We chose to feature Attorney General Suella Braverman today because she is the only candidate to have voted against Theresa May’s appalling Brexit deal at a crucial moment in the UK’s history. All seven of the other candidates voted for it on all three occasions.

We suspect Mrs Braverman does not have the Machiavellian instincts of some of her colleagues. To win a leadership election in Parliament a fair amount of manipulation, promises of advancement, and other techniques are required.

That said, it’s interesting that yesterday she topped the survey in the Red Wall seats – so crucial to retain at the next election if the Conservatives are going to stay in power. Now that might make a few MPs think….

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[ Sources: Voting record : Hansard | Speech in Parliament 2019 - Hansard official record | Articles by Suella Braverman ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Wed 13 July 2022

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