U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has sacked Suella Braverman from the position of home secretary after a tumultuous weekend of marches and protests in London.
The remit of the office of home secretary includes law enforcement in England and Wales. On Nov. 8, in an, Braverman wrote in the context of the “pro-Palestine movement” that “hate marchers” would use Nov. 11, Armistice Day, “to parade through London in yet another show of strength.” Armistice Day, also known as Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth and Veterans Day in the U.S., is commemorated every year to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany.
“Unfortunately, there is a perception that senior police officers play favourites when it comes to protesters. During Covid, why was it that lockdown objectors were given no quarter by public order police yet Black Lives Matters demonstrators were enabled, allowed to break rules and even greeted with officers taking the knee? 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? I have spoken to serving and former police officers who have noted this double standard,” Braverman wrote.
“Football fans are even more vocal about the tough way they are policed as compared to politically-connected minority groups who are favoured by the left. It may be that senior officers are more concerned with how much flak they are likely to get than whether this perceived unfairness alienates the majority. The government has a duty to take a broader view,” Braverman added.
What occurred on Saturday, ahead of Remembrance Day, was that right-wing protesters and soccer hooligans clashed with the Metropolitan Police at the Cenotaph in London, where Remembrance Day is observed. Some 120 people were arrested and several police personnel were injured. This was followed by a peace march where there were instances of antisemitism. The incidents prompted opposition calls for Braverman’s resignation.
A day after these events,: “Our brave police officers deserve the thanks of every decent citizen for their professionalism in the face of violence and aggression from protesters and counter protesters in London yesterday. That multiple officers were injured doing their duty is an outrage. The sick, inflammatory and, in some cases, clearly criminal chants, placards and paraphernalia openly on display at the march mark a new low. Antisemitism and other forms of racism together with the valorising of terrorism on such a scale is deeply troubling. This can’t go on. Week by week, the streets of London are being polluted by hate, violence, and antisemitism. Members of the public are being mobbed and intimidated. Jewish people in particular feel threatened. Further action is necessary.”
On Monday, Braverman was removed from her position, the second time this has happened after her brief stint during Liz Truss’ short tenure as prime minister, when she was fired for sending ministerial documents from her personal email. Sunak reinstated her six days later after he assumed charge as prime minister.
“It has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve as home secretary,” Braverman said after she was sacked. “I will have more to say in due course.”
Meanwhile, a cabinet reshuffle is underway. Foreign secretary James Cleverly has replaced Braverman as home secretary. Former Prime Minister David Cameron, who instigated Brexit, has been appointed foreign secretary.