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UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman. Alamy Stock Photo
UK

Rishi Sunak under pressure to sack Suella Braverman over article criticising police

The article, which used Northern Ireland as an example in criticising pro-Palestine “hate marchers”, was not signed off by Downing Street.

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER Rishi Sunak is under pressure to sack Suella Braverman after she defied Downing Street by publishing an article accusing police in London of bias over protests in support of Palestine.

Her claim that there is a perception some senior officers “play favourites”, only the latest inflammatory comment by the British Home Secretary in recent days, has prompted frustration and unease among Conservative MPs and sparked calls for Sunak to sack her after she failed to get Number 10 to sign off the Times piece.

Writing about a pro-Palestinian demonstration planned for the UK on Armistice Day, Braverman said “hate marchers” intend to use the protest as a “show of strength”.

The Home Secretary also characterised alleged reports that organisers of Saturday’s march were linked to Hamas as “disturbingly reminiscent of Ulster”.

Downing Street was still investigating last night the “details” about how the article was still sent for publication. 

Sunak is facing opposition calls to remove the Home Secretary, who claimed the protesters are “largely ignored” by officers “even when clearly breaking the law”.

It is understood that the article was submitted to Downing Street, but did not get signed off as significant alterations were requested. The piece was published nonetheless.

Labour mocked Sunak as “spineless” and argued that the move by Braverman amounts to a breach of the ministerial code.

It states that “all major interviews and media appearances, both print and broadcast, should also be agreed with the No 10 Press Office”.

Labour leader Keir Starmer and opposition parties have sought to pile further pressure on Sunak, who appointed Braverman to the high-level post when he took over from Liz Truss late last year.

“He’s got a Home Secretary who is out of control and he is too weak to do anything about it,” the Labour leader said.

Speaking during a visit to Wolverhampton, he said Braverman was “stoking up tension at the very time we should be trying to reduce tension”.

“She is doing the complete opposite of what I think most people in this country would see as the proper role of the Home Secretary.”

Even some Conservative MPs believe that Braverman, never shy about causing controversy, has this time overstepped the mark.

Senior Tory Bob Neill conceded that her position was “untenable”.

The Justice Committee Chair told LBC: “I think she’s gone over the line.

A Conservative former Cabinet minister also told PA news agency that Sunak should consider dismissing her if he cannot resolve the situation as the row “undermines” the Tory party.

Former chancellor George Osborne used his Political Currency podcast to claim that Sunak has “come very close” to sacking Braverman in the past.

It has long been speculated that Sunak will want to carry out a major ministerial reshuffle ahead of the upcoming general election, expected next year.

More immediately, the Supreme Court will next week rule whether Government plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda are lawful. There has been speculation that Sunak may want to wait for that decision before embarking on any reshuffle.

The row comes with only a day to go until tens of thousands of people take to the streets in London for the pro-Palestinian march.

Braverman’s article had reflected her frustration with Metropolitan Police chief Mark Rowley, who has resisted pressure from senior Tories to ban the demonstration in the capital.

Author
Press Association