RISHI Sunak has ruled that his Home Secretyary did not break the ministerial code over a speeding fine but admitted she could have taken “a better course of action”.

The Prime Minister said Suella Braverman could have done more “to avoid giving rise to the perception of impropriety”.

Ms Braverman said she deeply regretted that her actions may have led to such a perception and said she in hindsight she “would have chosen a different course of action”.

It means Mr Braverman does not face the sack for a breach of the code, but her conduct and that of the PM are now likely to come under intense fire from opposition parties.

The Liberal Democrats said the PM was guilty of a "cowardly cop out" and "in office but barely in power”.

When he entered No10 last October, Mr Sunak promised he would lead a government of "integrity, professionalism and accountability".

The opposition had demanded that Mr Sunak instruct his ethics adviser, Sir Laurie Magnus, to investigate whether the ministerial code had been breached.

But in the end, after consulting but mnot instructing Sir Laurie, the Prime Minister decided not to do so, and as the sole judge of the code, ruled Ms Bravermand didn’t break it.

It was reported on Sunday - and not denied - that Ms Braverman asked her officials to help her avoid getting penalty points on her licence after getting a speeding fine.

Caught in a 50mph zone near London in her previous job as Attorney General last summer, she faced three points or taking an online speeding awareness course.

Despite it being a private mater, Ms Braverman reportedly asked her civil servants to see if she could have a one-to-one session or keep her camera off, so that other motorists wouldn’t see her.

The officials refused as they were forbidden from getting involved under their own code of conduct, and a political aide asked instead, but the course provider refused.

In the end, Ms Braverman accepted the penalty points. 

In a letter to the PM, she apologised for the “distraction” her handling of a speeding offence has caused.

She wrote: “In hindsight, or if faced with a similar situation again, I would have chosen a different course of action.

“I sought to explore whether bespoke arrangements were possible, given my personal circumstances as a security-protected Minister.

“I recognise how some people have construed this as me seeking to avoid sanction - at no point was that the intention or outcome.

“Nonetheless, given the fundamental importance of integrity in public life, I deeply regret that my actions may have given rise to that perception, and I apologise for the distraction this has caused.

“I am deeply committed to all the Nolan Principles of Public Life, including honesty, integrity and openness, and I regret that these events have led some to question my commitment.

“I have at all times been truthful and transparent, and taken decisions guided by what I believed was right and appropriate given my office, not by any personal motivation.

"Another principle, of course, is leadership: Ministers must hold themselves, and be seen to hold themselves, to the highest standards.

“I have always strived, and will continue to strive, to do this.”

She said that asking officials about a speed awareness course reflected her lack of familiarity with protocol relating to her new status as a “protected person” when she became Home Secretary last September.

“My actions were always directed toward finding an appropriate way to participate in the speed awareness course, taking into account my new role as Home Secretary and the necessary security and privacy issues that this raised," she wrote.

“My interactions with officials intended to provide appropriate clarification of the options available to me in my role as Home Secretary.

“Whenever I was informed that a possible option was not available, I accepted that.

“At no point did I instruct officials to behave contrary to the advice that was provided.”

She added: “I also understand that, despite being aware of events at the time, at no point did the Permanent Secretary or Cabinet Office suggest that my actions resulted in a conflict of interest or merited any investigation.”

In reply, the Prime Minister said a “better course of action could have been taken” but he had decided she not breach the ministerial code “on the basis” of her letter and his discussion with her.

He said: “I have consulted with my independent adviser.

"He has advised that on this occasion further investigation is not necessary and I have accepted that advice.

"On the basis of your letter and our discussion, my decision is that these matters do not amount to a breach of the ministerial code.

“As you have recognised, a better course of action could have been taken to avoid giving rise to the perception of impropriety.”

Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain accused Tory ministers of having “dragged standards in public life into the gutter”.

The North East Fife MP said: “This is a cowardly cop-out from Rishi Sunak. With every scandal, we see the Prime Minister dither, delay and flip-flop, never taking decisive action.

"This is not the leadership the country needs during such a severe cost-of-living crisis. Sunak is too weak to even order an investigation, let alone sack his Home Secretary.

“Sunak had the chance to do the right thing but instead he’s once again chosen to be ruled by his own hardline backbenchers.

"He may be in office but he is barely in power.”