Calls for Sunak to sack Braverman mount as she is accused of spawning ‘hatred’

Suella Braverman. Credit: PA

Rishi Sunak is facing intensifying calls to sack Suella Braverman for stoking tensions ahead of Armistice Day protests, with Sir Keir Starmer accusing the Home Secretary of spawning “hatred and distrust”.

Pressure mounted on Mrs Braverman amid scenes of far-right violence towards officers on Saturday, after she branded pro-Palestinian demonstrators “hate marchers” and accused the police of bias for letting the rally go ahead.

Dozens of counter-protesters were arrested, including many trying to confront those participating in the march which Mr Sunak and Mrs Braverman had urged police to ban.

Nine officers were injured as they prevented a crowd of mainly football hooligans reaching the Cenotaph, with Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist calling their “extreme violence” towards the police “extraordinary and deeply concerning”.

Writing in a comment piece in the Sunday Telegraph, Sir Keir wrote few public figures “have done more recently to whip up division” than the Home Secretary.

The Labour leader said her and the prime minister’s treatment of the police and protesters showed a “lack of respect for this country’s values and its principles”.

Counter-protesters and police in Parliament Square in central London, during pro-Palestinian protest march. Credit: PA

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “The scenes of disorder we witnessed by the far-right at the Cenotaph are a direct result of the Home Secretary’s words. The police’s job has been made much harder.”

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper called for “calm”, with a veiled swipe at Mrs Braverman for fuelling tensions.

She tweeted: “Everyone must reflect on the impact of their words and actions. It is the responsibility of all of us to bring people together over this weekend not divide and inflame.”

Mr Sunak has so far maintained confidence in his Home Secretary, even as the latest row came after some ministers this week distanced themselves from her claims homelessness is a “lifestyle choice”.

A timeline of Suella Braverman's most controversial moments as home secretary

There has been speculation that the prime minister will carry out a ministerial reshuffle, which could see Mrs Braverman moved, but not before next week’s Supreme Court ruling on the Rwanda deportation policy championed by her.

Layla Moran, a Liberal Democrat MP who has family in Gaza, laid blame for any trouble caused by far-right groups at Mr Sunak’s door.

She tweeted: “As the police in central London work to contain the far-right, and everyone starts to blame Suella Braverman, just remember who chose to not only give her the job but also chose not to sack her.

“Rishi Sunak is as, if not more, responsible for what happens today”.

Credit: PA

But Mrs Braverman has supporters on the right of the party and any move against her by Mr Sunak could deepen divisions within Tory ranks.

Conservative former minister Brendan Clarke-Smith defended the Home Secretary, saying: “I’ve heard some daft takes, but to try and justify this appalling behaviour by blaming an op-ed in The Times, which simply stated the flaming obvious, is pathetic.”

Skirmishes broke out as police attempted to stop a crowd of people bearing St George’s flags from reaching the Cenotaph war memorial on Saturday morning, but the group pushed through, with some shouting “let’s have them” as officers hit out with batons.

The Met Police posted on X, formerly Twitter: “While the two minutes’ silence was marked respectfully and without incident on Whitehall, officers have faced aggression from counter-protesters who are in the area in significant numbers.”

Counter-protesters and police in Parliament Square in central London, during pro-Palestinian protest march. Credit: PA

Further clashes between people chanting “England ’til I die” and officers took place near Westminster underground station and in Chinatown.

Dozens of counter-protesters were arrested as hundreds of thousands of people took part in the pro-Palestinian march.

Mrs Braverman rowed back her language on the eve of Armistice Day, giving police her “full backing” at a meeting with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley.

It came after her article in The Times, in which she claimed officers “play favourites” towards pro-Palestinian protesters, was disowned by Downing Street and provoked fury among Tory MPs.

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