Tory Suella Braverman has been ousted as Home Secretary after weeks of controversy as she was accused of enflaming tensions around protests on Armistice Day on Saturday
Rishi Sunak has FINALLY sacked Suella Braverman after a weekend of sickening violence following the Home Secretary’s unauthorised attack on police chiefs.
The PM spent the weekend weighing up whether to get rid of her after she was accused of inspiring ugly clashes between police and “counter demonstrators” at the Cenotaph. A string of cabinet colleagues distanced themselves from her claim that forces “play favourites” with protesters as critics demanded her sacking.
This morning a top Tory conceded that Ms Braverman shouldered some of the blame for the violence. Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said it would be wrong to say the ugly scenes were “entirely” a consequence of what she said. He told Times Radio: “I wouldn’t have used some of the words that the home secretary used in her article. But I also think that it would be incorrect to say that those protests, the counter-protests, were entirely a consequence of what she wrote.”
By sacking Ms Braverman – a darling of the Tory right – Mr Sunak risks opening up a gaping wound within his party. Her supporters, including the influential Common Sense group, have spent recent days demanding she stays in post.
Police heavily implied that Ms Braverman’s attack was a factor behind the violence, with a statement from the Met’s assistant commissioner, Matt Twist, saying that it happened in “unique circumstances”. He said a week of “intense debate about protest and policing” along with Armistice Day and tensions in the Middle East, “combined to increase community tensions”.
Hundreds of far-right thugs descended on London and clashed with police as they tried to get to the Cenotaph on Saturday. It followed appeals by figures such as English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson to “protect” the monument – even though a pro-Palestinian march was not scheduled to go near it.
No10 admitted Ms Braverman’s article accusing police forces of “playing favourites” with protests had not been cleared by Downing Street. In an incendiary piece, the former Home Secretary added tension around the march on Armistice Day by pro-Palestinian groups and the risk of counter-protests.
Following the scenes of violence in the capital, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “She doesn’t have the credibility or authority to do the serious job of Home Secretary.”
The PM’s official spokesman told reporters on Thursday that No10 was looking at the incident, saying of the article: “It was not agreed by No10 – it was not cleared by No10”. A string of Cabinet ministers had refused to endorse Ms Braverman’s comments with the Tory Chancellor Jeremy Hunt saying: “The words that she used are not words that I myself would have used”.
Boris Johnson’s former director of communications Guto Harri also told Times Radio that Ms Braverman seemed to be “behaving as if she wants to be sacked on this occasion”. He claimed: “This is not something that she was bounced into saying. This was not something that was dropped in the heat of the moment. She wasn’t trapped. This was written in cold blood, you know, bounce to and from number ten. And I used to oversee that process of approval. And it will have gone under the noses of a number of people and gone back and all that. And then it sent in cold blood in plenty of time to be, you know, edited and put on the page with the time. So she knew exactly what she was doing.”
Labour also accused Ms Braverman of breaking the ministerial code – for a second time – after she failed to clear the article with Downing Street.
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