Politics Explained

Is Sunak’s grooming gangs crackdown just ‘dog whistle’ politics?

The Tories have vowed to ‘stamp out’ gangs intent on child sexual exploitation. Adam Forrest takes a closer look at whether the latest plan is substance or spin

Monday 03 April 2023 13:22 BST
<p>Rishi Sunak has promised to ‘weed out vile criminals’</p>

Rishi Sunak has promised to ‘weed out vile criminals’

Nobody likes grooming gangs. Few things evoke revulsion on the same scale as groups of men intent on child sexual exploitation. So Rishi Sunak and his home secretary Suella Braverman would seem to be on very safe ground when they vowed to “stamp out” an obvious evil.

However, the Tory government has been accused of seizing on the issue as an entirely cynical vote chaser, with opposition parties and experts questioning the sincerity of the latest get-tough plans and rhetoric ahead of local elections.

Braverman was charged with “dog whistle” politics over grooming gangs after she repeatedly singled out British-Pakistani men on Sunday – and claimed Labour councils had “turned a blind eye” to signs of abuse over fears of being racist.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in