Foreign Secretary aims to calm relationship with police following Braverman row

Home Secretary James Cleverly.
James Cleverly was announced as the new home secretary earlier this week. Credit: PA

James Cleverly has pledged to praise the police in public and criticise in private in pointed comments following the sacking of his home secretary predecessor Suella Braverman.

Addressing a major policing conference in Westminster on Thursday, Mr Cleverly told delegates he would make any criticisms "professionally, calmly [and] directly".

Striking a markedly different note to Ms Braverman, he said he "will back you when you do the right thing", adding: "I think you can have a relationship that has challenge, and demands excellence and professionalism, without having to be in a relationship of conflict.

"The two are not inextricably linked. And that is why, you will know for those of you who have worked with me before, my instinct is always to praise in public [and] to criticise in private."

Earlier, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper warned that "a spiral of disrespect" cannot be allowed to develop between the government and the police, following intense political pressure over protest marches.

Ms Cooper called the attacks by former home secretary Ms Braverman on the Metropolitan Police last week "a disgrace".

Ms Braverman took the extraordinary step of writing an article for the Times, accusing the force of showing bias in favour of left-wing protesters.

That was after she had pressed for Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley to ban a pro-Palestine demonstration in central London, which she branded a hate march.

Suella Braverman's attacks on the Metropolitan Police were called a 'disgrace' by shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper. Credit: PA

Ms Cooper told delegates: "The attacks on you by Suella Braverman were a total disgrace.

"Suella Braverman is not home secretary anymore, rightly… But this is actually too important just to move on, to dismiss this as an aberration.

"Because I said repeatedly in the comments that I made on the disgraceful Suella Braverman article, no home secretary ever before would ever have done this.

"And that's true. But now our home secretary has done this. And we cannot let this spiral into a spiral of disrespect between policing and between the Home Office ministers."

She accused Prime Minster Rishi Sunak of being irresponsible in also putting pressure on the Met over the protests.

"The prime minister… also got drawn into her approach, putting public and theatrical pressure on the Met Commissioner for the sake of headlines. I believe that was irresponsible," she said.

"The policing minister also tried to defend the claim that police pick favourites. That is not good enough."

The Labour shadow home secretary called for the renewed monitoring of Islamophobic and antisemitic hate incidents, which fall under the criminal threshold, due to increased tensions over the conflict in Gaza.

She also said that the threshold for offences for stirring up hatred should be re-examined.

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