Rishi Sunak has declined to back Home Secretary Suella Braverman over allegations she asked civil servants to help her avoid incurring points on her licence for speeding.
The Prime Minister did not state whether he will launch an investigation into the Cabinet minister despite demands from Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
Asked whether he had full confidence in Braverman at a press conference at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Sunak said he did not know the “full details” and has not spoken to her yet.
But he noted she had “expressed regret” for speeding.
“I don’t know the full details of what has happened nor have I spoken to the Home Secretary,” Sunak said.
“I think you can see first hand what I have been doing over the last day or so but I understand that she’s expressed regret for speeding, accepted the penalty and paid the fine.”
However, a No 10 spokeswoman later insisted he does “of course” have full confidence in his Home Secretary, responding to a message: “Yes, he does.”
Sunak expressed his frustration at being asked whether he would ask his ethics adviser Sir Laurie Magnus to investigate the claims.
“Did you have any questions about the summit?” he asked, before being further quizzed on Braverman.
The Sunday Times reported that Braverman asked Home Office aides to help organise a one-to-one driving awareness course.
Officials refused the request so Braverman allegedly turned to a political aide to assist her in attempting to arrange an alternative to having to attend a course with other motorists.
She was caught speeding outside London while she was Attorney General last summer.
The newspaper reported that a number of requests were made to a speeding awareness course provider by an aide, including asking if the senior Conservative minister could do an online course, but use an alias or have her camera switched off.
Braverman ultimately chose instead to accept three points on her driving licence.
Labour shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “The Prime Minister has promised integrity, professionalism and accountability, yet it appears his Home Secretary is blatantly flouting all three.
“We need an urgent investigation into what has gone on here, starting with Laurie Magnus seeing how this is possibly compatible with the ministerial code.”
Sir Laurie cannot launch an investigation without Sunak’s approval but a breach of the ministerial code is often a resigning matter.
A source close to Braverman told the PA news agency the speeding ticket and subsequent arrangements for dealing with it were reported to the Cabinet Office at the time.
They said she was keen to arrange a course because of concerns her insurance premium potentially could increase.
According to the Sunday Times, she approached civil servants about the issue after she was made Home Secretary by Liz Truss.
Braverman resigned in October after sharing a sensitive document with a Tory backbencher from a personal email without permission.
But Sunak reappointed her just six days later when he entered No 10.
Alistair Carmichael, the Lib Dems’ home affairs spokesman, said: “Suella Braverman should be urgently investigated by the ethics adviser and add her name to the near endless list of ministers who have had to undergo the same.
“Time and time again we are seeing a conveyor belt of Conservative politicians run roughshod over the rules and drag our politics into the gutter.
“Now the buck stops with Rishi Sunak himself to stop the endless headlines of sleaze and scandal.”
A source close to the Home Secretary said: “Mrs Braverman accepted three points for a speeding offence which took place last summer.
“The Cabinet Office was notified of this as requested by Mrs Braverman. She was not and is not disqualified from driving.”
A motorist can be banned from driving if they have 12 or more penalty points on their licence.
A spokesman for the Home Secretary said: “Mrs Braverman accepts that she was speeding last summer and regrets doing so.
“She took the three points and paid the fine last year.”
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