Sack Braverman, Osborne tells Sunak over police bias row - GulfToday

Sack Braverman, Osborne tells Sunak over police bias row


Suella Braverman

Kate Devlin and Adam Forrest, The Independent

Rishi Sunak has been warned by George Osborne that he risks looking weak unless he sacks Suella Braverman, after an extraordinary row erupted over the home secretary’s incendiary claim that the police are biased. Braverman’s job is on the line after Downing Street made clear that it had not approved an extraordinary article in which she accused officers of playing favourites over a pro-Palestine march on Armistice Day. No 10 says it is investigating after it demanded that changes be made to the piece but the request was ignored.

As the home secretary’s claims sparked a furious outcry, one Conservative minister broke ranks to accuse her of fuelling “hatred and division”. Osborne said Sunak could “demonstrate strength” by sacking the home secretary, having “come very close” to firing her in the past. The “power to hire but also ... to fire is the real demonstration of prime ministerial power,” added the former chancellor. In an extraordinary day of developments:

Several senior Conservatives demanded that the prime minister fire Braverman, with chair of the justice committee Bob Neill describing her position as ‘untenable,’ Former home secretary Jack Straw said the PM must sack her following her “extraordinary” attack on the police. A deputy chair of the Conservative Party described her comments as “dangerous.”   Policing top brass accused Braverman of crossing a line and threatening their operational independence. Braverman was accused of emboldening far-right groups to come out in counter-demonstrations. Labour said the cabinet minister was “out of control.” Braverman’s future as home secretary is now in doubt after No 10 announced it was looking into how the article had come to be published. Downing Street also distanced itself from Braverman’s accusations of bias, saying that the prime minister believes the police “will operate without fear or favour”.

In her op-ed in The Times, Braverman wrote: “Unfortunately, there is a perception that senior police officers play favourites when it comes to protesters.” She continued: “Right-wing and nationalist protesters who engage in aggression are rightly met with a stern response yet pro-Palestinian mobs displaying almost identical behaviour are largely ignored, even when clearly breaking the law?” She also sparked outrage by claiming that Islamists were using the Gaza demonstrations to express “primacy”, and compared the events to rallies in Northern Ireland.

Braverman’s article is only her latest controversy in recent days. She has described the protests as “hate marches”, claimed that some people are homeless as a “lifestyle choice”, and proposed restricting the use of tents by rough sleepers. Her comments sparked a furious row within the Conservative Party as senior Tories urged Sunak to sack her. One former cabinet minister told The Independent it is unacceptable to “publicly undermine the police in this way” and said Braverman should be “returned to the back benches”.

Another former cabinet minister said: “She is obviously goading Sunak into sacking her now.” A former Tory minister added: “She should be fired.” One Tory MP accused her of “sticking two fingers up at No 10” and agreed that it was time for Sunak to finally get rid of her, while another senior Conservative, also a former minister, said Braverman was now a “liability” to the party and that Sunak would be damaged if he “lets her continue peddling inflated rhetoric”. Asked about her remarks, the Tory minister for London, Paul Scully, said: “We’ve got to make sure that we concentrate on dampening things down rather than fuelling that sort of hatred and that division.”

Nickie Aiken, a deputy chair of the Conservative Party, said Braverman’s comments were “dangerous”. In his podcast Political Currency, Osborne also said the PM could “assert authority, demonstrate that he’s the change candidate and then throw the challenge to Keir Starmer and say: ‘I’ve ... imposed discipline on my front bench.

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