New Attorney General Suella Braverman is part of a controversial Buddhist sect that still reveres its founder, despite claims he was a sexual predator.
Suella Braverman took over as Boris Johnson’s most senior legal advisor from Geoffrey Cox who was axed in the cabinet reshuffle this week.
Ms Braverman is a member of the Triratna order whose founder Dennis Lingwood – also known as Sangharakshita – faced multiple allegations that he coerced male followers into sex in the 1970s and 80s.
New Attorney General Suella Braverman (right) is part of a controversial Buddhist sect that still reveres its founder Dennis Lingwood (left), despite claims he was a sexual predator
Ms Braverman is a member of the Triratna order whose founder Lingwood (pictured) faced multiple allegations that he coerced male followers into sex
In the 1980s the group’s centre in Croydon, London, was shut amid reports that members were being manipulated.
A survey by five members of the sect, which has thousands of members, found that of 423 followers, 13 per cent said they, or someone they knew, had ‘experienced sexual misconduct by either Sangharakshita or other Triratna order members in past and recent times’, The Observer reports.
Ms Braverman visits one of Triratna’s main hubs, the London Buddhist Centre, one or two times a month, reports suggest.
One of Lingwood’s alleged victims Mark Dunlop told the paper: ‘The new attorney general must surely be aware of the long-standing allegations against the organisation.’
He claims Lingwood – who died aged 93 in 2018 – coerced him into sex over a four-year period.
But the sect’s websites still feature images of Lingwood and information about his teaching.
Alleged victim Mark Dunlop claims Lingwood (left in 1966) – who died aged 93 in 2018 – coerced him into sex over a four-year period
A report by the followers said: ‘While many respondents described misconduct between a more experienced male order member and less experienced male mitra [‘friend’ in Sanskrit], as has been described many times in the past, other types of misconduct were also reported, including male order members becoming sexually involved with very vulnerable women.’
Lingwood later apologised for his relationships with men in the order.
A spokeswoman for Triratna said: ‘I would like to make clear that Sangharakshita has never been accused, charged or convicted of any crime.’
Lingwood’s teaching focuses on the three elements known as ‘jewels’: The Buddha, Dharma (his Buddha’s teachings) and Sangha (the Buddha’s followers).
Lingwood believed that Buddhists are ‘Going For Refuge’ at the jewels, according The Buddhist Centre’s website.
Ms Braverman was a surprise choice to replace Cox in the cabinet reshuffle Thursday which saw former Chancellor Sajid Javid purged from the government.
The former barrister has already threatened to ‘take back control’ from interfering judges in politics amid Boris Johnson’s battle with the judiciary, and will no doubt strengthen pro-Brexit voices at the top table.
The new Attorney General sparked controversy last year when she was accused of being ‘antisemitic’ over her declaration that: ‘As Conservatives, we are engaged in a battle against cultural Marxism.’
The Board of Deputies of British Jews asked her not to use the phrase again, but described her as ‘clearly a good friend of the Jewish community’.
Braverman faced criticism on her appointment of Attorney General, with many deeming her ‘unfit’ for the role.
The Liberal Democrats party’s justice spokesperson Daisy Cooper said it is ‘the latest shocking step in Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings’ assault on the rule of law’.
Meanwhile, the barrister and former Conservative MP Anna Soubry similarly tweeted that Braverman had ‘little experience’.
She wrote: ‘Genuine concern that as a hardline, no-deal Brexiteer with little experience [Braverman] will not undertake the important role of AG – which invariably means giving firm legal advice a Govt/PM doesn’t want to hear because it doesn’t suit them politically.’
Ms Braverman’s office has been approached for comment.
Numerous other senior figures left the government this week as Mr Johnson wielded the axe.
Numerous other senior figures also left the government yesterday as Mr Johnson wielded the axe.
Julian Smith was unceremoniously dumped as Northern Ireland secretary just weeks after brokering a deal which restored the power-sharing administration at Stormont.
Andrea Leadsom was sacked as business secretary, Theresa Villiers lost her job as environment secretary and Geoffrey Cox was removed from his post as attorney general.
Esther McVey lost her role as housing minister, and the total number of women attending Cabinet fell from eight to seven – while the total number of ministers attending shrank from 32 to 26.