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Home secretary Suella Braverman has accused the Metropolitan Police of “playing favourites” by allowing a pro-Palestinian march on Armistice Day to go ahead.
The Labour party quickly criticized Ms Braverman for being “unrestrained” when she stated that police prejudice had prevented right-wing protests while allowing “pro-Palestinian mobs” to gather.
She also alleged that Islamists were utilizing the demonstration on Saturday as a means to demonstrate their “dominance,” and likened it to radical gatherings in Northern Ireland associated with terrorism.
Senior members of the Conservative party described her statements as “unhinged” and “ignorant”. Transport minister Mark Harper, a member of the Tory party, stated that he did not share the views of his fellow cabinet member and maintained that police forces are not biased.
Ms. Braverman’s criticism follows Rishi Sunak’s admission that the march in support of Palestine will proceed, but he emphasized that Scotland Yard’s determination is continuously monitored.
The Prime Minister summoned the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, for an urgent meeting regarding the march. She stated that she would hold the head of Scotland Yard responsible if any issues arose.
In an article for The Times, Ms Braverman expressed her belief that the marches are not simply a call for aid for Gaza, but rather a display of dominance by certain groups, specifically Islamists, similar to what is typically seen in Northern Ireland.
The secretary of state for home affairs stated: “It is concerning to note that some of the organizers of Saturday’s march have connections to terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, which is reminiscent of the situation in Ulster.”
Ms. Braverman stated that there is a belief that higher ranking police officers show preferential treatment towards protesters. She also mentioned that some current police officers have expressed concerns about a “double standard.”
She asked: “Why is it that right-wing and nationalist protesters who act aggressively are met with strong consequences, but pro-Palestinian groups who exhibit similar behavior are often overlooked, even when they are clearly breaking the law?”
She stated that football supporters are particularly outspoken about the harsh treatment they receive from law enforcement, in contrast to marginalized groups with political ties who are supported by the liberal side.
According to a prominent member of the Conservative party, Ms. Braverman’s recent remarks were described as “unhinged” by the BBC. Another source within the party deemed her comparison to Northern Ireland as “offensive and uninformed”.
A Conservative government official stated that Ms Braverman’s actions were “dangerous and irresponsible” for potentially inciting disorder among far-right groups on Saturday. The official also mentioned that her role is to help ease tensions.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary for Labour, stated that Suella Braverman is behaving recklessly and that no other home secretary from any political party would behave in such a manner.
She stated that the article by the home secretary was a reckless and risky effort to diminish the public’s trust in the police during a critical period, to disregard operational autonomy, and to aggravate tensions within the community.
The transportation secretary, Mr. Harper, expressed his disagreement with Ms. Braverman’s comments. He stated that all police forces prioritize enforcing the law without bias. In an interview with Times Radio, he stated that he will not participate in analyzing the exact wording of her article.
According to Lord Greenhalgh, a conservative member of the House of Lords and former deputy mayor for policing in London, the comments made by Ms. Braverman have gone beyond acceptable boundaries. He expressed this sentiment on BBC’s Newsnight, stating that a home secretary should not behave in such a manner.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, stated that Ms. Braverman’s recent statement accusing the police of bias was “incorrect, provocative, and reckless.”
Liberal Democrat spokesperson for home affairs Alistair Carmichael criticized Ms. Braverman’s tactics of appealing to the right in order to become the next Tory leader. He stated that her actions of intentionally causing divisions and tensions are irresponsible and potentially harmful.
Ms. Braverman’s most recent controversy has caused a stir in the past few days. She referred to the protests as “hate marches”, suggested that some people choose to be homeless as a “lifestyle”, and suggested limiting the use of tents for those who sleep on the streets.
Mark has been facing immense pressure from Sunak, Braverman and other high-level Conservative ministers to prohibit the march in London on Saturday. However, he has stated that the law permits him to do so only in rare circumstances.
The meeting between Mr Sunak and Sir Mark seemed to lessen some of the strain between the government and the Met, until Ms Braverman launched a new assault on the police.
Neil Basu, a former assistant commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, criticized the pressure exerted by Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman during the controversy. He believes that this marks the downfall of the UK’s policing autonomy.
According to Mr. Basu’s statement on LBC, it would be unlawful for Sir Mark to prohibit the march without enough evidence. He also expressed that no politician should put a chief constable in such a position.
Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour party, criticized Mr. Sunak for exhibiting “cowardice” by choosing to confront Met chiefs instead of collaborating with them.
The Metropolitan police had advised the organizers of the march to consider cancelling the event on Saturday due to an increased potential for violence. However, the group supporting Palestine has rejected this request and will proceed with the march.
The force has the ability to seek permission to prohibit the event according to Section 13 of the Public Order Act 1986 – however, this would only be applicable if there was a potential for significant public unrest.
The intended path for the London protest will begin at Hyde Park, which is approximately one mile away from the war memorial in Whitehall. The march will then continue to the US embassy located in Vauxhall, south of the Thames.
According to The Sun, the secretary of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign was employed with the Labour party until recently. Ben Soffa, who held the position of head of digital organising, stated that he is leaving to pursue new opportunities.
A representative from the Labour party expressed appreciation for Ben’s contributions and extended well wishes for his future endeavors.