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Suella Braverman sacked as home secretary by Rishi Sunak after pro-Palestine march row

Home secretary axed after claiming Met were ‘playing favourites’ with Palestinian protesters

Adam Forrest
Political Correspondent
,Archie Mitchell
Monday 13 November 2023 13:18 GMT
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Suella Braverman's most controversial moments as she is sacked as home secretary

Rishi Sunak has sacked Suella Braverman as home secretary after she accused Metropolitan Police chiefs of bias in their handling of the pro-Palestine protests.

Her sacking was welcomed by Tory moderates who had called on the PM to fire Ms Braverman when she controversially claimed the police were “playing favourites”.

But Mr Sunak has been told to “prepare for war”, warned that the move could provoke a full-scale revolt by more than 50 of her right-wing supporters keen for her to succeed Mr Sunak as party leader.

James Cleverly has become home secretary after Ms Braverman‘s exit on Monday morning, with Former Tory PM David Cameron named as his replacement as foreign secretary in a shock appointment.

Tory HQ said Mr Sunak was undertaking a reshuffle to “strengthen his team in government to deliver long-term decisions for a brighter future”.

It comes after Ms Braverman sparked outrage with her accusation of Met favouritism, opening her up to claims that she incited violent protests by far-right thugs at the Cenotaph at the weekend.

She doubled down on the comments on Sunday night, claiming Britain’s streets were being “polluted by hate, violence, and antisemitism”.

After Armistice Day commemorations were disrupted by far-right thugs, Ms Braverman condemned only the “protesters and counter protesters”.

Responding to her sacking, Ms Braverman said: “It has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve as home secretary.” Ominously for Mr Sunak, she added: “I will have more to say in due course.”

Suella Braverman leaves her house before being sacked by Rishi Sunak

In a sign of bitter divisions have been reignited, the former Tory minister Andrea Jenkyns said Ms Braverman had been “sacked for speaking the truth”. The right-winger said it was a “bad call by Rishi caving in to the left”.

Jacob Rees-Mogg described the sacking of Ms Braverman as a “mistake”. And he said Mr Cameron was a “highly intelligent, capable individual” – but warned that his return could push some voters to Reform, the successor to the Brexit Party.

Mr Sunak should “prepare for war” following the sacking of Ms Braverman, according to the former Tory MP Neil Parish. The right-winger said: “Rishi Sunak better prepare for war I think because of course she is very much, Suella, the standard bearer of the right of the party.”

And David Campbell Bannerman, chair of Tory members’ group the Conservative Democratic Organisation, said on Monday that Conservative MPs were organising behind the scenes and “the numbers are now there” for a no confidence vote in Mr Sunak.

It currently requires 54 letters of no confidence in Mr Sunak – 15 per cent of the party – going to the Tories’ 1922 committee to trigger a vote in his leadership.

But a senior Tory MP told The Independent said the idea 54 Tory MPs would send a no-confidence vote as “nonsense” – saying Braverman had “nothing like” 54 backers. They said the “vast majority” of Tory MPs were against any change of leadership.

Senior Tory MP Stephen Hammond has said the right-wingers angry about Ms Braverman’s sacking don’t have the numbers to oust Rishi Sunak – despite claims more than 50 are ready to send no-confidence letters in the PM.

“All too often the right has shown itself to be well organised and noisy so that the impact is somewhat larger than the reality of their numbers,” Mr Hammond told The Independent – who said the sacking of Ms Braverman was “completely correct”.

“There may be lots of noise again. However, the PM has chosen to make this a more centrist and centre-right government which will guarantee him more support amongst colleagues.”

Rishi Sunak sacked Braverman after mulling decision over weekend (AP)

But the moderates had warned that it would be “disgraceful” not to sack Ms Braverman after her open defiance of the PM’s authority in appeals to the right. After she was sacked, one senior Tory MP told The Independent: “Rejoice.”

Senior Tory Tobias Ellwood has welcomed the sacking of Ms Braverman and appointment of Mr Cameron. Ending Ms Braverman’s appeals to right-wing members offered a chance to article a “centre-right vision that looks beyond our party base,” he told The Independent.

John Stevenson MP, leader of the Tories’ Northern Research Group, told The Independent Mr Sunak was right to sack her. “The way she was conducting herself was not right for a home secretary.”

No 10 did not approve the final text an incendiary op-ed for The Times Ms Braverman wrote, with Mr Sunak’s officials’ requests for changes ignored by the home secretary.

Many Tory MPs believed the radical right-winger was trying to get fired to further her leadership ambitions – having attacked Palestinian “hate marches” and describing homelessness as a “lifestyle choice”.

Her article about Saturday’s Gaza rally – in which she also compared the pro-Palestine protest to extremist rallies in Northern Ireland – had sparked another major row within the Tory party.

Braverman was ‘trying to get fired’ to launch leadership bid, say some Tory MPs (PA Wire)

Labour had accused the home secretary of being “out of control” – challenging Mr Sunak to sack his home secretary or say whether he agreed with her views.

And, after the far right clashed with police on Armistice Day, Labour accused Ms Braverman of “whipping up division” and “sowing the seeds of hatred and distrust” which caused the violence.

Sir Keir of accused Ms Braverman of “demeaning the office” of home secretary, while shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper urged Mr Sunak to get rid of her.

In her fateful op-ed, Ms Braverman claimed: “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?”

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