Attorney General Suella Braverman quizzed on the ERG in 2017 Channel 4 News interview
Channel 4 News
If you want to be prime minister, then there’s no question you need to be a good communicator in order to make your government work as a strong team and to get key political messages out to members of the public.
How awkward, then, that fellow leadership candidate and attorney general Suella Braverman has had a clip go viral in which she struggles to communicate exactly what the European Research Group (ERG) is.
In her own words, the “express mission” of the pressure group of pro-Brexit Tory MPs is to “support the government to deliver a Brexit which is reflective of the result of the referendum, which is prosperity-led and successful”.
She gave the description to Channel 4 News’ Krishnan Guru-Murthy back in 2017, with the broadcaster asking Ms Braverman if the group takes public money.
“It is funded by public money, and it has been for many years, yeah,” she replied.
We’re not sure some taxpayers are all too keen on having their money funding a lobbying group for a subject as divisive as Brexit, Suella!
Mr Guru-Murthy pushed further: “How many government ministers are in it?”
Then came the hesitation from Ms Braverman: “I’m not going to say how many government ministers are in it, because it is- it is essentially a group of, erm, members of parliament.”
“It’s a secret society, is it,” asked the news presenter.
When this was denied by the attorney general, he continued asking just how many ministers are in the group, only for her to go back to her description of what the ERG was.
Mr Guru-Murthy went on to say: “Sorry, you just said you take public money, therefore the public ought to know where its money is going. Who are the members?”
Ms Braverman replied: “It’s all on the public record and people are able to, er, disclose their name … I’ve told you, I’m not going to change, that the members of the European Research Group are a group of MPs who support the government’s agenda in delivering a successful…”
At one point, she had to pause to compose herself after being asked once again about a list of members.
“The list of members is kept by the European Research Group … It’s available if necessary … It’s available, because everyone has to declare…
“This is not something for- but I can definitely provide that. It’s a list of MPs who make clear their declarations of contributions to the European Research Group. It funds a researcher who is providing research on a parliamentary basis for matters to do with the European Union,” Ms Braverman waffled.
And now the MP is being reminded about it – and mocked over it - once more, as she said she “would be honoured” to become PM: