Suella Braverman is ‘out of control’: Home secretary sparks fresh row over ‘inflammatory’ newspaper article | Politics News

Suella Braverman has been accused of being “out of control”, as she continued her war of words with the Metropolitan Police after the commissioner resisted government pressure to ban this week’s pro-Palestinian march.

In an article for The Times newspaper, the home secretary once again described pro-Palestinian protesters as “hate marchers”.

And she went even further, adding: “I do not believe that these marches are merely a cry for help for Gaza.

“They are an assertion of primacy by certain groups – particularly Islamists – of the kind we are more used to seeing in Northern Ireland.

“Also, disturbingly reminiscent of Ulster are the reports that some of Saturday’s march group organisers have links to terrorist groups, including Hamas.”

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One former Tory cabinet minister told Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby: “This is wholly offensive and ignorant of where people in Northern Ireland stand on the issues of Israel and Gaza.

“It would be good to know what she knows about what Northern Ireland people think about the current Israel-Palestine situation before she casts aspersions.

“It’s clear that the home secretary is only looking after her misguided aspirations for leader than responsible leadership as a home secretary”.

In the article Ms Braverman also claimed a double standard exists within the Met, saying that while right-wing and nationalist protesters who engage in aggression “are rightly met with a stern response”, “pro-Palestinian mobs displaying almost identical behaviour are largely ignored”.

The home secretary also questioned why protests for Black Lives Matter were allowed to go ahead during the COVID pandemic, while “lockdown objectors were given no quarter by public order police”.

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Minister: ‘I would not describe them as hate marches’

More on this story:
Does Braverman relish being controversial?

Asked about the home secretary’s comments this morning, Transport Secretary Mark Harper told Sky’s Kay Burley that the police were simply “focused on keeping people safe”.

“They’re putting in measures across the board to make sure that the protest takes place peacefully, that people obey the law and that other members of the community can go about their lawful business without being intimidated or frightened.

“They do that in a very responsible way.”

Pressed on whether he believed the Met was biased to left-wing groups, Mr Harper dodged the question and would only say they were “focused on keeping people safe and implementing the law”.

In response to Ms Braverman’s article, Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, described her as “out of control”.

She wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Her article tonight is a highly irresponsible, dangerous attempt to undermine respect for police at a sensitive time, to rip up operational independence and to inflame community tensions.

“No other home secretary of any party would ever do this.”

How much longer can Sunak put up with Braverman?

Jon Craig - Chief political correspondent

Jon Craig

Chief political correspondent


Rishi Sunak has essentially told Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley that if there’s violence at the pro-Palestine march in London on Saturday, it’s his fault.

But it’s a petulant response to Sir Mark’s defiance in the face of the enormous pressure from the PM and other ministers for the Armistice Day march to be banned.

Picking a fight with the UK’s top cop is probably not the most sensible move for a prime minister or home secretary – especially for a Conservative.

Remember the Tories’ claim to be the party of law and order?

But once Suella Braverman had made her incendiary “hate marches” attack on pro-ceasefire protesters last week, the battlelines were drawn and the Tories declared war on Sir Mark.

And now the war has gone nuclear. Writing in The Times, Ms Braverman accuses police of being biased in favour of left-wing protesters.

Read Jon Craig’s full analysis here

In response to the article, the Met Police said they would “not be commenting at this time”.

It comes as half of Britons think pro-Palestinian marches should be banned on Armistice Day, according to an exclusive poll for Sky News.

While a third of those asked thought the planned protests should be allowed to go ahead.

Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak conceded that a pro-Palestinian march on Armistice Day will go ahead – but described the protest as “disrespectful”.

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Met Police chief ‘accountable’ over protest

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Following a face-to-face meeting with Sir Mark, he said the chief of the Metropolitan Police would be held accountable for his decision to greenlight the demonstration.

He said in a statement: “Saturday’s planned protest is not just disrespectful but offends our heartfelt gratitude to the memory of those who gave so much so that we may live in freedom and peace today.

“But part of that freedom is the right to peacefully protest. And the test of that freedom is whether our commitment to it can survive the discomfort and frustration of those who seek to use it, even if we disagree with them. We will meet that test and remain true to our principles.”

Downing Street denied seeking to put pressure on the Met, which is operationally independent, and insisted the meeting was about “seeking assurances” that their approach is “robust”.

Tens of thousands have demonstrated in London in recent weeks over Palestinian deaths in the Israel-Hamas war with 29 arrested during a fourth week of protests last Saturday, during which fireworks were thrown.

The route marchers plan to take on Armistice Day.

The route marchers plan to take on Armistice Day

Organisers of this Saturday’s protest say it will be “well away” from the Cenotaph – going from Hyde Park, around a mile from the war memorial in Whitehall, to the US embassy – and won’t start until after the 11am silence.

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