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Suella Braverman ‘encouraging extremists on all sides’, says Labour

09 Nov 2023 5 minute read
Suella Braverman. Photo Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire

MPs have suggested Suella Braverman should be sacked as Home Secretary amid warnings she is “encouraging extremists on all sides” over her response to pro-Palestinian protests.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper led the criticism of Ms Braverman during an urgent question in the House of Commons focused on the operational independence of the Metropolitan Police.

The exchanges were prompted by Ms Braverman’s article in The Times in which she said aggressive right-wing protesters were met with a stern response by officers while “pro-Palestinian mobs” were “largely ignored, even when clearly breaking the law”.

The SNP and opposition backbenchers questioned if Ms Braverman should be sacked by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, while Labour former minister Sir Chris Bryant accused the Home Secretary of “inciting hatred”.

DUP MP Ian Paisley defended Ms Braverman and accused other MPs of “hand-wringing hypocrisy and pant-wetting” over “someone criticising the police correctly”.

Policing minister Chris Philp, replying for the Government, said it was “reasonable” for politicians to raise concerns and make sure the police were protecting communities.

“Extremists”

Speaking in the Commons, Ms Cooper said Ms Braverman was “deliberately seeking to create division around Remembrance” after the minister doubled down on her characterisation of a protest planned for Armistice Day as a “hate” march.

Ms Cooper said: “She is encouraging extremists on all sides, attacking the police when she should be backing them. It is highly irresponsible and dangerous, and no other Home Secretary would ever have done this.”

Ms Cooper went on: “Does this Government still believe in the operational independence of the police, and how can it do so while this Home Secretary is in post and did the Prime Minister and Number 10 agree to the content of this article?

“Because either the Prime Minister has endorsed this or he’s too weak to sack her.”

Mr Philp said there had been a “spike” in Islamophobic offences and a “surge” in antisemitic offences, adding: “I’ve been contacted this morning by members of the Jewish community who are deeply uneasy about what this weekend will bring.”

Mr Philp went on: “And it is reasonable for politicians, the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary and others, I’m sure some on the other side of the House as well, to raise those concerns and make sure that the police are protecting those communities.”

He insisted that “the Government resolutely backs the question of operational independence” and in relation to the approval process of the Home Secretary’s article with Number 10, Mr Philp said: “I’m afraid I don’t have any visibility on that at all.”

Operational independence

For the SNP, Chris Stephens said: “A lot of discussion has focused on the Palestinian ceasefire march when the police are more concerned with counter-protests by the far right … and football hooligans. Will the Government also be looking to cancel the 10 Premier League games scheduled this weekend?

“Will it look to cancel the City of London’s Lord Mayor’s Parade which overlaps the two-minute silence?

“The ex-Met assistant commissioner said this morning that this is the end of operational independence in policing … saying it’s on the verge of behaving unconstitutionally.

“Does this not mean and represent that the Home Secretary is unfit for office and should be sacked today?”

Mr Philp said he did not agree with the suggestion that operational independence was in “any way compromised”.

Sir Chris, Labour MP for Rhondda, said: “The minister is absolutely right when he says there is no place for hate on our streets. Isn’t the truth of the matter though there is no place for hate in the Home Office either, and the problem with the present Home Secretary is that she’s the person who is inciting hatred in this country.”

Labour’s Jon Trickett (Hemsworth) said: “The truth is the Government is attempting to draw the police into taking political sides in a very contentious matter in the country.

“There are millions of people who want a ceasefire. Now that is a dangerous slippery slope which we’re on. Operational independence of the police to protect the right of assembly, the basic English right of liberty is being challenged by the Home Secretary.

“She is not fit to hold that post, is she?”

Mr Paisley (North Antrim) said MPs were right to criticise the Metropolitan Police for their handling of a 2021 vigil for murdered marketing executive Sarah Everard, adding on the current criticism: “The hand-wringing hypocrisy and the pant-wetting that we’re seeing over someone criticising the police correctly is amazing.”

Conservative former Cabinet minister Theresa Villiers said she was “deeply troubled” by the march planned for Saturday.

She acknowledged the police were in a “really difficult position” and that their powers were “constrained by law”, but speaking about the Jewish community, she said: “I have never known fear and anxiety as I have seen over the last few weeks.”


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Jones Arfon
Jones Arfon
6 months ago

Complaint made to the Met against the Home Secretary

inbound5177835714271827898
Jeff
Jeff
6 months ago

She is lobbing petrol everywhere hoping some far right nutter will be the spark she needs to make this what she wants it to be, that it all out hate and war on a minority of people. She is setting up the Met to fail. She is creating the hate. No one else. She is a danger to public safety. The Prime Minister of the UK put her back in a ministerial post after she should have been bared for life for the breach in security she created. Question now is what is the hold on the PM, what far… Read more »

Jeff
Jeff
6 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

Seems no 10 didn’t ok what she said in the Times but are happy with it. Anyone fine the PM backbone, mail it to No10

John Davies
John Davies
6 months ago

It is misguided to claim that marching to stop a war on a day that marks the end of another war is disrespectful. To describe a march that calls for an end to the slaughter of civilians a “hate march” is beyond obscene. Braverman is a complete and utter disgrace. As a private citizen she would be repugnant. As a minister in one of the great offices of state she is sickening.

Another Richard
Another Richard
6 months ago
Reply to  John Davies

If the marches through London were straightforwardly in support of peace there would be no problem. But they’re not. The marchers include Hamas supporters and antisemites who call for the murder and rape of Jews. Last weekend a group of British Legion poppy-sellers was surrounded and intimidated. I’m not arguing for the marches to be cancelled but they need to be tightly policed. And anyone tempted to join them should ask themselves just what company they will be keeping.

John Davies
John Davies
6 months ago

Oh nonsense. Smear and misrepresentation, straight out of the right-wing press playbook. Perhaps a good idea not to read so many Daily Mail editorials? A very tiny minority of marchers may be unsavoury characters. When about half a million people march, there are bound to be a few dingbats among them. The majority are concerned with things like indiscriminate bombardment of a civilian population, forced relocation of civilians, collective punishment of a whole community, possible ethnic cleaning, maybe even genocide and grisly statistics like five thousand dead children. War crimes and crimes against humanity, in other words, all of which… Read more »

Jeff
Jeff
6 months ago
Reply to  John Davies

Yeah, Transport Police comment on poppy sellers. TLDR: move along, nothing to see.
https://www.btp.police.uk/news/btp/news/scotland/statement-safety-of-poppy-sellers-ahead-of-remembrance-weekend/

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
6 months ago

It’s all the Braverman and the Tories have left – stoke division. It has gained them votes in the past but the public are now fed up with it and the right is split, with Reform and UKIP soaking up votes too. There has been too much Conservative free market policy, feeding the rich and bigotry over the past 40years – time for something completely different.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
6 months ago

There are families, with children; people of various religions including Muslim and Jew, marching for peace, for an end to the killing of children, for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid. For Cruella to label them as ‘hate marches’ is dispicable!

Killing just encourages more revenge killing, from both sides and in the end there will be no-one left alive!

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