Suella Braverman slams Labour’s lack of plan over migrants
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has, undeniably, had a good few weeks in the job. After a difficult 2022, she has bounced back; garnering a raft press coverage for the Government’s new small boats plan, a trip to Rwanda and this week’s unashamedly un-PC approach to tackling child grooming gangs. Despite this, she faces a nail-biting constituency selection battle this week.
On Wednesday, the darling of the Tory right will face up against, in the words of one Conservative Party source, “one of the wettest MPs you can get”, in a battle to hang on to her parliamentary constituency.
The 2022 Boundary Commission proposals for new constituencies ahead of the next General Election are causing havoc in the Conservative Party, with MPs facing winnable seats becoming carved up, split or made into predicted Labour wins.
In Hampshire, Suella Braverman’s Fareham constituency is being split down the middle, to form the new seat of Fareham and Waterlooville.
This will see her go up against her neighbour, Flick Drummond, whose Meon Valley seat is being eaten up by at least three surrounding seats.
The Battle of Waterlooville – cleverly named by history-loving locals – will therefore pit Suella Braverman against her ideological opposite within the party.
Mrs Drummond is an unabashed Europhile who backed Remain; she supports trans rights; and has boasted about working with the National Education Union and the Labour Party to reform education policies.
A 2020 article she wrote for the grassroots website Conservative Home saw her describe the Black Lives Matter movement as having “laudable aims”.
In 2016, she pushed efforts to campaign for Trans rights, saying “Britain really does need to move on from this widespread transphobia”.
She backed Remain in the 2016 Brexit referendum, and accused UKIP voters in 2015 of being “racist” in a local election husting.
Suella Braverman couldn’t be more different; a hardline Brexiteer, no-nonsense culture warrior, unafraid to push back against the prevailing metropolitan trans doctrine.
Given all this, any observer with a stereotypical view of Tory party members would presume Mrs Braverman is a shoo-in for Wednesday’s selection battle.
However multiple analyses by respected news outlets have been writing the contest up as a potential defeat for the Home Secretary. In February, The Times said: “Local sources said they expected Drummond to win”.
Now, though, another source thinks Suella might swing it.
Unlike the northern, more Lib Dem-facing parts of Hampshire, the Waterlooville centre of the would-be new constituency is a straightforward Labour-Conservative battleground, making Suella’s actions on small boats, Rwanda and the culture war arguably much more appealing than Mrs Drummond’s liberal brand of Conservatism.
The Express’s local source said that a month or so ago, they believed Suella Braverman would lose the battle, as she didn’t have any links with the members.
Since then, their pessimism has lifted.
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Alongside the good headlines on small boats, Mrs Braverman has put on a diplomatic effort.
She secured a star appearance from new Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson at a local constituency event, with pictures showing high attendance.
Mr Anderson endorsed her, quipping: “Suella has come in for a lot of stick since becoming Home Secretary. But we all know why. Its cos there is not a Braver Man in Parliament”.
The Waterlooville constituency isn’t Flick Drummond’s ideal seat, and may be more suited to the neighbouring Hamble Valley, though has indicated no interest in it.
Despite the mood shift in Mrs Braverman’s favour, the vote will be “very, very close”, a local expert said.
The Battle of Waterloo saw a triumphant patriotic Brit defeat continental European forces. Wednesday will tell whether the Battle of Waterlooville will play out the same way.
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