Suella Braverman

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Suella Braverman

Official portrait of Suella Braverman MP crop 2.jpg
Braverman in 2019
Attorney General for England and Wales
Advocate General for Northern Ireland
In office
13 February 2020 
On Leave: 2 March 2021 –
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Preceded by Sir Geoffrey Cox
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union
In office
9 January 2018 15 November 2018
Prime Minister Theresa May
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded by Kwasi Kwarteng
Chairman of the
European Research Group
In office
19 June 2017 9 January 2018
Deputy Michael Tomlinson
Leader Theresa May
Preceded by Steve Baker
Succeeded by Jacob Rees-Mogg
Deputy Chairman of the
European Research Group
In office
20 November 2016 19 June 2017
Servingwith Michael Tomlinson
Leader Theresa May
Chairman Steve Baker
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded by Steve Baker (2018)
Member of Parliament
for Fareham
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded by Mark Hoban
Majority26,086 (45.6%)
Personal details
Sue-Ellen Cassiana Fernandes

(1980-04-03) 3 April 1980 (age 41)
Harrow, London, England
Political party Conservative
Rael Braverman
(m. 2018)
Alma mater

Sue-Ellen Cassiana "Suella" Braverman QC MP ( née  Fernandes; born 3 April 1980) is a British politician currently on leave. She was appointed Attorney General for England and Wales and Advocate General for Northern Ireland in February 2020 and has been the member of parliament (MP) for Fareham since 2015. [1] A member of the Conservative Party, she chaired the European Research Group (ERG) from 19 June 2017 to 9 January 2018.


Early and personal life

Fernandes was born to Christie and Uma Fernandes of Indian origin, [2] [3] who had emigrated to Britain in the 1960s from Kenya and Mauritius. Her mother was a nurse and a councillor in Brent [3] and her father, of Goan-ancestry in South India, [4] worked for a housing association. She was born in Harrow, Greater London, and grew up in Wembley. [5]

Fernandes attended the Uxendon Manor Primary School in Brent and the fee-paying Heathfield School, Pinner, on a partial scholarship. [5] [6]

Fernandes read Law at Queens' College, Cambridge. She lived in France for two years, as an Erasmus Programme student and then as an Entente Cordiale Scholar, where she completed a master's degree in European and French Law at Pantheon-Sorbonne University. [7] [8] During her undergraduate studies, she was Chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association. [9] Between 2005 and 2015, Fernandes practised as a barrister. [7]

Fernandes married Rael Braverman in February 2018 at the House of Commons. [10] Their first child, George, was born on 10 July 2019 and their second child, Gabriella, was born on 7 March 2021. [11]

Braverman is a member of the Triratna Buddhist Community (formerly known as the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order) and attends the London Buddhist Centre monthly. [12]

Braverman was called to the bar at Middle Temple in 2005. [13] [14] She completed her pupillage at 2–3 Gray's Inn Square (now Cornerstone Barristers) [15] and then was based at No5 Chambers in London specialising in commercial litigation, judicial review, immigration and planning law. [13] [16] She was appointed to the Attorney General's C Panel of Counsel in 2010. [17]

Political career

Conservative candidate

At the 2005 general election, Fernandes contested Leicester East, finishing in second place behind Labour's Keith Vaz. [18] She sought selection as the Conservative candidate in Bexhill and Battle, but was unsuccessful,[ citation needed ] and was eventually selected to be the Conservative candidate in Fareham. [19] Fernandes also sought election to the London Assembly at the 2012 Assembly elections, being placed fourth on the Conservative London-wide list. [20] She missed out, however, as only the first three Conservative candidates were elected. [21]

Parliamentary activity

Fernandes was elected to the House of Commons as the MP for Fareham in 2015 with 56.1% of the vote and a majority of 22,262. [22] She gave her maiden speech on 1 June 2015. [23] She has taken a particular interest in education, home affairs and justice and has written for The Daily Telegraph , Bright Blue, i News , HuffPost , Brexit Central and ConservativeHome . [24]

From 2015 to 2017, Fernandes was a member of the Education Select Committee and the Education, Skills and the Economy Sub-Committee. [25] Between November 2015 and February 2016, she was a member of the Joint Committee on the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill. [26] Fernandes chaired the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on Financial Education for Young People from September 2016 to May 2017. Working with the charity Young Enterprise and the money-saving expert Martin Lewis, she led the APPG's inquiry into the provision of financial education in schools and launched its report, Financial Education in Schools: Two Years On – Job Done?, [27] which called for better financial education in schools. Fernandes was also a commissioner on the Social Market Foundation commission on inequality in education, [28] a cross-party initiative which is examining the causes and effects of inequality in education at primary and secondary levels in England and Wales.[ citation needed ]

Fernandes joined the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme in 2016, graduating from the scheme in 2017. [29] Fernandes opened a Westminster Hall debate [30] in the House of Commons [31] on the failings of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and has chaired meetings with the Trust's executives along with other MPs on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hampshire in which instances of poor care quality and the deaths of patients were investigated. [32]

Fernandes was a member of the panel of an inquiry, led by the think-tank British Future, to examine how the government can protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK. [33] Fernandes campaigned to leave the European Union in the 2016 EU membership referendum; [34] a majority (55%) of votes in her constituency were for leaving. [35] She was chair of the European Research Group, a pro-Leave group of Conservative MPs, until her promotion to ministerial office; she was replaced by Jacob Rees-Mogg. [36] Following the 2017 general election, Fernandes was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the ministers of the Treasury. [37]

During the January 2018 reshuffle, Fernandes was appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union. [38] On 15 November 2018, Fernandes (now known as Braverman) resigned on the same day that Davis' successor, Dominic Raab, resigned as Brexit Secretary in protest at Theresa May and Olly Robbins's draft Brexit deal, which was released the day before. [39]

In March 2019, Braverman stated in a speech for the Bruges Group that "[a]s Conservatives, we are engaged in a battle against cultural Marxism". Her usage of the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory, an antisemitic conspiracy theory often employed by neo-Nazis and alt-right activists as a means of attacking Jewish people involved in politics, was condemned as hate speech by other MPs, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the anti-racist organisation Hope Not Hate, among other anti-racist charities. Braverman denied that the term "cultural Marxism" was an antisemitic trope, saying, "We have culture evolving from the far left which has allowed the snuffing out of freedom of speech, freedom of thought. [...] I'm very aware of that ongoing creep of cultural Marxism, which has come from Jeremy Corbyn." [40] After meeting with her later, the Board of Deputies of British Jews said in a subsequent statement that she is "not in any way antisemitic", saying it believed that she did not "intentionally use antisemitic language", while finding that she "is clearly a good friend of the Jewish community" and that they were "sorry to see that the whole matter has caused distress". [41]

Attorney General

In the 13 February 2020 reshuffle, Braverman was appointed as Attorney General for England and Wales and Advocate General for Northern Ireland, succeeding Geoffrey Cox who had been dismissed from government. She is the second female Attorney General and the first Conservative female Attorney General. [42]

Braverman was designated as a Minister on Leave on 2 March 2021, [43] shortly after the Ministerial and other Maternity Allowances Act 2021 was enacted to allow this arrangement. Michael Ellis became Attorney General in an acting capacity.

Free schools

Braverman is the chair of governors at the Michaela Community School, [44] and supports plans to create a free school in Fareham. [45] She sits on the advisory board of the New Schools Network, a charity which aims to support groups setting up free schools within the English state education sector. [46]

Rights versus responsibilities

In a December 2015 op-ed, Braverman wrote, "In essence, rights have come to fill the space once occupied by generosity." She quotes Eric Posner's theories on what the Brazilian state sees as its right to use torture by "the police in the name of crime prevention. They justify this by putting a general right to live free from crime and intimidation above their rights of those who are tortured." She closes, [47]

To correct the imbalance, perhaps we should adopt a Universal Declaration of Responsibilities and Duties, to be read in tandem with that on Human Rights? A fair, decent and reasonable society should question the dilution of our sense of duty, the demotion of our grasp of responsibility and our virtual abandonment of the spirit of civic obligation. What we do for others should matter more than the selfish assertion of personal rights and the lonely individualism to which it gives rise.

Parliamentary sovereignty and international treaties

In 2020, as Attorney General, she stated the UK Government's legal position about the possible impact of the UK Internal Market Bill on the Northern Ireland Protocol: [48]

It is an established principle of international law that a state is obliged to discharge its treaty obligations in good faith. This is, and will remain, the key principle in informing the UK's approach to international relations. However, in the difficult and highly exceptional circumstances in which we find ourselves, it is important to remember the fundamental principle of Parliamentary sovereignty.

Parliament is sovereign as a matter of domestic law and can pass legislation which is in breach of the UK's Treaty obligations. Parliament would not be acting unconstitutionally in enacting such legislation. This 'dualist' approach is shared by other, similar legal systems […].

See also

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Mark Hoban
Member of Parliament
for Fareham

Political offices
Preceded by
Geoffrey Cox
Attorney General for England and Wales
Advocate General for Northern Ireland
Other offices
Preceded by
Steve Baker
Chair of the European Research Group
Succeeded by
Jacob Rees-Mogg