Suella Braverman’s non-denial denial on leaking market-sensitive information

Official Cabinet Portrait; Secretary of State for the Home Department under this licence.

Suelle Braverman parsed her words carefully in her letter to the Home Office Select Committee about leaking information about a new policy of proposed “growth visas”. I have written here about how the leak, if it contained market-sensitive information, could have breached market abuse legislation.

In her letter, Braverman said:

“It did not contain details of any particular case work. It did not contain any market-sensitive data as all the data contained in the document was already in the public domain.”

Note that Braverman refers to ‘market-sensitive data’ not ‘market-sensitive information. Yet other types of information besides date can be market-sensitive or inside information.

The Financial Conduct Authority has made this clear in its guidance for government departments on inside information, which says that examples of inside information could include ‘policy changes and consultations or conclusions of any sectoral reviews which could affect one or more companies or a sector’. In this case, the growth visa policy was expected to impact the Office for Budget Responsibility’s projections and could have affected markets.

Suella Braverman is yet to deny that no market-sensitive information was leaked by her. It is a straighforward question but she is yet to answer it.

Omar Salem is a solicitor specializing in financial regulation. He writes in a personal capacity.

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