James Cleverly replaces Suella Braverman as Home Secretary: Everything you need to know about him

Cleverly has had a varied career and a challenging personal life. Here's what you need to know about the new Home Secretary.

James Cleverly replaces Suella Braverman as Home Secretary
© Anthony Devlin / GETTYIMAGES
James Cleverly replaces Suella Braverman as Home Secretary

Suella Braverman has sparked a lot of controversy over her time as Home Secretary. This morning, on Monday 13 November, she was sacked from the role after a weekend of speculation. It seems that for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, her unauthorised article accusing the Metropolitan Police of bias was a step too far. So, it’s been a rough day for Braverman, though this is not the first time she has been forced to step down from the role.

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But one politician's failure is another’s opportunity, and it has already been announced that James Cleverly will replace Braverman. But who is James Cleverly? Here’s everything you need to know about his career and family.

James Cleverly’s career

Cleverly has already spoken out about his new role, stating:

It is an honor to be appointed home secretary. The goal is clear. My job is to keep people in this country safe.

Cleverly has been the MP for Braintree in Essex since 2015, though it seems that he got the position in less than favourable conditions. According to the Mirror:

He was selected to be Tory candidate for Braintree in 2015 after the sitting Conservative MP Brooks Newmark stood down in a sexting and obscene images scandal.
Cleverly wasn't initially picked by the local party but became the man for the seat when the selection process was initially suspended after someone not on the approved list had been chosen.

However, he also served as Secretary of State for Education from July to September 2022, and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs between 6 September 2022 and 13 November 2023. He was appointed by former PM Liz Truss, of whom he is a staunch supporter, and was kept on by Rishi Sunak when he entered Downing Street.

Cleverly’s father, a surveyor, is British and his mother, a midwife, is from Sierra Leone. Cleverly worked as the Minister for Middle East, North Africa and North America from September 2020 to February 2022. He also has strong links to the military as he volunteered for the Territorial Army for over 20 years, rising up to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

James Cleverly’s family

Cleverly met his wife Susie at university, and the pair have two children together who the new Home Secretary has described as ‘lively’.

The family suffered a terrible blow in 2021 when Susie was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. Cleverly has spoken openly about not being able to ‘speak or sleep’ when he first heard the news.

Thankfully, the new Home Secretary’s wife has undergone treatment, including grueling chemotherapy, and is now cancer free. She says that the experience has shifted her perspective:

I've never been a great worrier, but now I embrace everything.

Cleverly is set to have urgent talks with the Metropolitan police commissioner, Mark Rowley, to discuss Braverman’s claims about bias within the system. Only time will tell whether Cleverly will be as controversial as his predecessor.

Read more:

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Sources used:

The Guardian: James Cleverly appointed home secretary in cabinet reshuffle

Daily Mail: Radiant in red: Foreign Secretary James Cleverly's wife Susie who battled cancer draws the attention at the Conservative party conference

Mirror: James Cleverly: Who is the new Home Secretary - from private school to Warhammer passion

Suella Braverman: Here’s why the former Home Secretary was forced to resign the first time around Suella Braverman: Here’s why the former Home Secretary was forced to resign the first time around