Sunak under pressure as Tory anger with Braverman grows over homelessness comments and Met criticism

Sunak faces calls to sack Suella Braverman after her comments over homelessness and a letter to The Times. Credit: PA

The reaction of many Tory MPs to yet more controversy from Suella Braverman was sheer fury - especially for those on the more liberal side of the party. 

Some spoke openly, but many more shared their frustration privately on WhatsApp with colleagues, or in conversations around parliament. 

One told me the King's Speech had felt a bit flat.

"We need a reset. I think Rishi should roll the dice and sack her." 

A minister responded to my WhatsApp asking for a response saying that they were in a public place: "Probably not the best place to give you my view of the home secretary 😂".

From conversations, it's clear that the Conservative chief whip, Simon Hart, the man in charge of party discipline, has been "inundated" with complaints about Ms Braverman. 

And it wasn't just about her article criticising the police for failing to stop a pro-Palestine march this Saturday.

Her comments about homelessness being a lifestyle choice for some caused anger (on all wings of the party) and probably led to the most complaints. And there was unease about a suggestion that gay people game the asylum system for some too. 

But as rumours mount of an imminent reshuffle - in which Braverman could be the highest profile casualty - there is a real dilemma for Rishi Sunak

Because for all the anger among MPs, the home secretary's stock has been rising on the right of the party. Look at the Conservative Home poll of party members, as the PM has plummeted, she has risen from almost the bottom to fifth from top. 

Ms Braverman was brought back into government by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak Credit: James Manning/PA

And a growing number of MPs on the right think she's the only one brave enough to say the things on migration that their constituents want to hear. Even though they too didn't love the homelessness comments, some certainly support her article today thinking Sir Mark Rowley should have stopped the protest. 

"She's just saying what the public think," said one MP.

Sacking Ms Braverman would place a potential leadership hopeful outside the tent which could prove to become a headache for the PM. But she is far from the only hopeful on the right. 

And could Ms Braverman really become Tory leader with so many MPs determined to block her?

That Con Home poll now has James Cleverly at the top, with Penny Mordaunt's high up too, suggesting some are seeking possible compromise or unity candidates who could win the membership. 

One "one nation" Tory joked that if she became leader, they'd relish being a liberal voice on the backbenches.

"We'd do what Keir Starmer did - stay and fight for the party." 

But despite the Tory party's reputation for ruthlessness when it trails in the polls, no one thinks that removing Rishi Sunak after so many years of chaos would help the party's fortunes.

So any talk of a leadership change is about after the next election, an election that Mr Sunak still thinks he can win. 

For many of his MPs the possible path to victory is narrowing. They were largely unimpressed by the King's Speech but hope the Autumn Statement and perhaps that reshuffle will shake things up. 

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know