Suella Braverman: Home Secretary gives Met Police 'full backing' after bias claim amid Palestine rally row
Suella Braverman: Amid the Palestine march dispute, the Home Secretary offers the Met Police "full backing" in response to a bias charge.
Suella Braverman gave police her "full backing" ahead of a pro-Palestinian march planned for Armistice Day, in what appears to be a U-turn after her widely-criticised allegations of bias were disowned by Downing Street.
This comes after the Home Secretary held a meeting Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley on Friday, in which she expressed her support for the Metropolitan Police, a source close to the minister said.
Mrs Braverman came under fire for her claim that officers “play favourites” towards pro-Palestinian protesters, which prompted growing frustration and concern among Tory MPs and sparked calls for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to sack her.
Although Mr Sunak continued to express his confidence in her, No 10 declined to say whether they had spoken since her inflammatory unauthorised article in The Times, saying they were working “very closely” ahead of Saturday’s heavily-policed march, but chose not to repeat her widely-condemned language.
The source close to Mrs Braverman said: “The Home Secretary and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police met this afternoon to discuss the policing of demonstrations to be held tomorrow, on Armistice Day. The Commissioner outlined plans to continue working to maintain public order, ensure compliance with the law and maintain the safety of participants, police officers and the general public.
“The Home Secretary emphasised her full backing for the police in what will be a complex and challenging situation and expressed confidence that any criminality will be dealt with robustly.”
In her opinion piece, Mrs Braverman had written that “pro-Palestinian mobs” are “largely ignored, even when clearly breaking the law”, while aggressive right-wing protesters are met with a stern response by officers, whom she accused of “double standards”.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt distanced himself from her remarks, expressing Cabinet concern by telling reporters that "the words that she used are not words that I myself would have used."
A Downing Street spokeswoman said the Prime Minister “has confidence” in Mrs Braverman, but did not rule out a Cabinet reshuffle. No 10 was still internally investigating the “details” about how the article – which contained a comparison between “pro-Palestinian mobs” and marches in Northern Ireland – was sent for publication. Mr Sunak has not referred the matter to ethics adviser Sir Laurie Magnus.
It is understood that the article was submitted to No 10 but did not get signed off as significant alterations were requested. The piece was published nonetheless. The Prime Minister will need to decide whether the Home Secretary’s actions breached the ministerial code and, if so, whether he should sack her.
There has been speculation that Mr Sunak 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. Mrs Braverman’s expression of support for the Met appeared to be an effort to make amends.