| Suella Braverman |
|Born||Sue-Ellen Cassiana Fernandes|
3 April 1980
|Alma mater||Queens' College (Cambridge), Sorbonne|
Suella Braverman is a British Conservative Party politician serving as Attorney General for England and Wales and Advocate General for Northern Ireland since February 2020. She was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Fareham at the 2015 General Election, and re-elected in 2017 and 2019 with an increased majority each time.
European Research Group
In 2017, when Suella Braverman chaired the European Research Group (ERG), she was interviewed by Krishnan Guru-Murthy for Channel 4 News. Guru-Murthy noted that the ERG is publicly funded and asked Braverman to confirm how many ministers were in it. But the ERG chair refused to do so. He then argued:
- "You’ve just said you take public money, therefore the public ought to know where its money is going."
- "It’s all on the public record, and people are able to disclose their name."
Guru-Murthy asked where he could find that public record, twice, and after Braverman had blustered for a bit, she admitted:
- "The list of members is kept by the European Research Group."
After more toing and froing, where Guru-Murthy pressed the MP to find out if the list was publicly available (according to the common understanding of the word ‘public’ as opposed to Braverman’s strange definition of it), the MP ended by promising to get it to the host personally.
In short, the interview was a disaster. Braverman crumbled under Guru-Murthy’s questioning, fumbling for words or, indeed, an argument to pull together, and got (easily) caught in a bizarre twisting of the truth.
- “We are engaging in many battles right now. As Conservatives we are engaged in a battle against cultural Marxism, where banning things is becoming de rigueur; where freedom of speech is becoming a taboo; where our universities, quintessential institutions of liberalism, are being shrouded in censorship and a culture of no-platforming.”
After the speech, during a question and answer session, Braverman was asked whether she stood by the term, given its far-right connections. She said
- “Yes, I do believe we are in a battle against a cultural Marxism, as I said.
- “We have culture evolving from the far left which has allowed the snuffing out of freedom of speech, freedom of thought. No one can get offended any more, we are living in a culture where we are putting everyone in cotton wool, a risk-averse mentality is now taking over.
- “And that instinct for freedom, for risk-taking, for making mistakes, for innovation, for creativity, is being killed. And it’s absolutely damaging for our spirit as British people, and our genius, whether it’s for innovation and science, or culture and civilisation; whether it’s for statecraft.”
- “I’m very aware of that ongoing creep of cultural Marxism which has come from Jeremy Corbyn.”
A spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews said:
- “Suella Braverman MP may not have been aware of it, but the term ‘cultural Marxist’ has a history as an antisemitic trope. We would ask for her to clarify the remarks and undertake not to use the phrase in future.”
Tom Peck of The Independent newspaper is critical of Suella Braverman ("A lawyer who’ll smash up the courts for political gain is hard to find; one well-qualified enough to be this stupid is even harder"):
- "Anyone can say something stupid. Anyone can say 'cultural Marxism', without knowing that it is a virulently antisemitic term found almost 1,000 times in the manifesto of white supremacist mass-murderer Anders Breivik. Anyone can make a mistake. Anyone can say something they don’t understand. The country’s most senior lawyer, it turns out, can be human, too."
- "Just in case you weren't sufficiently worried for Britain, here's new Attorney General Suella Braverman"
- "Boris Johnson’s pick for top legal adviser takes idiocy to a whole new level"
- "Tory MP criticised for using antisemitic term 'cultural Marxism'"
- "In this shambolic cabinet, Suella Braverman fits right in"