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‘Political suicide’: Grassroots Tories’ fury at Rishi Sunak after sacking Suella Braverman revealed in leaked WhatsApps | Politics News

Sacking Suella Braverman means “suicide” for the Tory party and Rishi Sunak has just “thrown the election away” according to leaked WhatsApp messages between members of a grassroots Conservative organisation leaked to Sky News.

Members of the Conservative Democratic Organisation (CDO), a momentum-style group created out of frustration at the ousting of Boris Johnson and Liz Truss and backed by Priti Patel, called on Tory MPs to submit letters of no confidence in Rishi Sunak after Monday’s reshuffle.

Conversations between CDO members on Monday reveal they believe “Sunak has committed political suicide” and “the cabinet is pretty much the exact opposite of what we voted for in 2019” while another asks “is it April Fool’s day???”

Politics live: Cabinet hears joke from PM about Cameron appointment

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The CDO, whose president is Lord Peter Cruddas, aims to change the rules of the Tory party to give the membership a bigger voice in its running.

Sky News has seen messages from regional WhatsApp groups where CDO members give their views on the reshuffle. Many, but not all, are Conservative members, and almost none are nationally recognisable figures so are not being named by Sky News.

These views are not representative, therefore, of the whole Tory membership, but represent a slice of Conservative thinking inside and outside the party. It chimes with some Tory MPs on the right who believe the reshuffle will bolster Reform UK, the right-wing party created from the Brexit Party.

In the South East CDO group, one contributor calls the appointment of David Cameron a “very weak decision”, another calls it the “undoing of the party” and a third says “FFS”.

One says “the only good news would be if Kemi [Badenoch, business secretary] replaces [Chancellor Jeremy] Hunt but I can’t see it”.

Read more from Sam Coates:
Sunak mocked in leaked WhatsApps by grassroots
Scale of civil war between Tory MPs over police revealed

Some in relation to Cameron refer to conspiracy theories about an elite in Davos controlling the world.

“His biggest regret was Brexit, even though he was always a eurosceptic. Why? Because it robbed him of post PM £s on the Davos circuit. He’s back to redeem himself under Davos darling Nutsak”. “Nutsak” is an occasional nickname for Sunak in this group.

“I’ve not been this angry since Boris was forced out”, says one.

In the same group, they respond to the sacking of Ms Braverman as home secretary with dismay.

“I call on Conservative MPs to submit their VoNC [vote of no confidence] letters to the 1922 [Committee]. Rishi Sunak & his out-of-touch squad, must be outed from No10,” said one. Later that day, Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns did submit such a letter.

“Is Suella a member of the CDO?” asks one. “How can we help her and thereby help ourselves and our country? I am really unhappy about this… Let’s push for letters to go in.”

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Richard Holden’s appointment as party chairman is also the source of dismay because he is seen as close to Mr Sunak.

“Apparently an ex CCHQ staffer, otherwise known as a full commitment to the lunatics taking over the asylum,” one said.

Read the full exchanges below.


[08:39] Activist 1: Reshuffle starting now…

[08:40] Activist 1: Suella has just been sacked. The end of the Conservative party

[08:40] Activist 2: Harry Cole was reporting that it was expected because of the vague agenda for today.

[08:42] Activist 2: Let’s hope it’s the beginning of the end for Sunak

[08:4?] Activist 2: He’s now jumping to the bark of Labour

[08:45] Activist 3: If Suella has been sacked, then he should go. Is Suella a member of CDO? How can we help her and thereby help ourselves and our country? I am really unhappy about this.

[08:46] Activist 2: Now it’s time for the backbenchers to put up.

[08:46] Activist 3: Let’s push for the letters to go in.

[08:46] Activist 4: He is demonstrating he is a follower not a leader.

[08:47] Activist 2: It’s so weak. Even if he wanted to sack her he shouldn’t indulge in the left

[08:47] Activist 3: An unelected one at that. Disgraceful.

[08:47] Activist 5: Suella has been sacked – it’s on the news websites now.

[08:50] Activist 6: I call on Conservatives Mp’s to submit their VoNC letters to the 1922. Rishi Sunak & his out-of-touch squad, must be ousted from NO.10. To those few are still members, please write your Association(s). #Ready4Rishi2Go

[08:58] Activist 7: Sunak & he party is sunk. They’ve backed the wrong horse(s)

[08:59] Activist 2: Cleverly as HS

[09:00] Activist 8 : Not sure what he was thinking, she can do more damage to him on the backbenches! Thanks for that was about to write to Cleverly about a matter abroad!


[08:41] Activist 1: Suella has been sacked

[08:41] Activist 2: What an idiot!

[08:42] Activist 3: Activist Sunak got to go

[08:42] Activist 4: Well on the bright side Suella is free now to replace him when the time comes…

[08:43] Activist 5: It’s nothing like the party I joined in the 1970’s when we had a clear vision and direction. My MP doesn’t share many of my Conservative principles sadly like many of his colleagues.

[08:43] Activist 6: I think this trigger for letters to go in

[08:51] Activist 6: Tell your MP’s!

[08:54] Activist 5: Just sent an email to my MP

[08:57] Activist 6: Great yes pile on everyone

[10:13] Activist 2: There are no pliable MPs left for Sunak and his squad to call upon. What an utter clown show. What now Activist 6?

[10:15] Activist 6: Now letters must go in and Sunak replaced urgently. We could have a leadership election in 3 weeks including limited hustings and members vote.

[10:16] Activist 7: Do you think there are enough MPs with a backbone to do it though?


[07:08] Activist 1: The current Tory government

Rishi Sunak: Stabbed the one person who gave him a top job, rejected by us, done nothing in the year he’s been the cuckoo prime minister, rejected by the people according to the pills.

Hunt: Rejected by us 4 times and disliked by the people according to the polls.

Cameron: Didn’t like the result of a democracy so ran away and let down his constituency by resigning. Got caught being a naughty man.

Did I miss anything? :/

[08:42] Activist 2: He’s sacked Suella! He’s on a suicide mission for the party!

[08:43] Activist 3: Sunak has committed political suicide

That being said, I’m sure this is a positive step towards a Bravermen leadership.

[08:45] Activist 4: Time for the letters to go in! Let’s see what mess is made of reshuffle too.

[08:49] Activist 2: I’m furious.

[08:49] Activist 2: He is no Politician. He doesn’t understand that the Tory faithful are pretty much only still faithful because of Suella.

[08:52] Activist 2: I’m a party member, I’ve always voted Tory. I’m active in the local association and I am really struggling with the idea of voting for them at the next GE. Sorry, but they need a kicking.

[08:52] Activist 3: I would be furious if I wasn’t rather excited to watch Sunak’s unravelling and a (potential) leadership bid by Suella.

Rishi has signed his political death warrant, and Suella will be back – so the situation is bittersweet.

[09:50] Activist 5: This is just awful.

[09:50] Activist 5: Sunak is not even a Tory

[09:50] Activist 5: MPs: Get him out NOW!

[09:50] Activist 2: I’m so angry I can’t focus on work.

[10:13] Activist 6: I feel the same, I’m furious. Just watched the idiots on GB News saying Suella was out of control. She was the first minister in years I actually felt was a real Conservative with genuine Conservative values. I hope she runs for leadership and kicks Sunak to touch.

[10:19] Activist 2: This cabinet is pretty much the exact opposite of what we voted for in 2019.

[10:44] Activist 7: If she does and gets voted in overwhelmingly by the membership, the snakes will oust her, ignore us all and install another puppet!

[10:45] Activist 8: It’s 10:45.

What’s the delay in those letters to Sir Graham? There’s not a postal strike is there?

[10:45] Activist 9: Exactly, as we are unfortunately accustomed to.

[13:15] Activist 10: I see the ‘one nation’ tories are full of glee today.

[13:34] Activist 11: They won’t be after next year’s general election results.

[13:36] Activist 11: Although saying that, they might actually be gleeful, since they seem so hellbent on causing as much reputational damage to the party as possible.


[10:12] Activist 1: I can’t believe it. Suella sacked and Cameron in as foreign secretary!

[10:13] Activist 1: Is it April fools day????

[10:14] Activist 2: Incredible – has just thrown the election away! I bet Starmer sends him a crate of champagne to thank him! We need to get off our bums and write in and voice our anger.

[11:08] Activist 3: I wonder who made him sack her? Dr. No or another member of the cabal really running the country? Looks like time to quit the party for me.

[11.10] Activist 4: Stay as a member. You will have more influence in the future.

[11:10] Activist 5: It’s not our party anymore… It hasn’t been for a while.

[11:10] Activist 3: Exactly true!

[11:16] Activist 6: I’m not quitting. I want the satisfaction of being involved in rebuilding once these people have moved on. Unfortunately unless the backbenchers grow a pair we are going to have to go a few years of socialism in order to move them on .

[11:18] Activist 7: A few years? We’ll never get into power again… Votes will be opened up to 16 year olds, non-British nationals too.. We’ll then have another referendum and be back under the globalists boot. Democracy will be dead, and this party with its blatant corruption, enabled it.

[11:39] Activist 8:v I heard they’re going to change the membership vote for PM, just in case we have the audacity of not choosing the right person. It breaks my heart to say this, but the conservative party, that I’ve supported for years, is well and truly finished. A vote for this shower is a wasted vote.

[11:43] Activist 9: Will Cameron become leader?

[13:24] Activist 9: Hague orchestrated Cameron. It’s to stop a Boris or Farage come back.

[13:26] Activist 9: We need to split.

[13:38] Activist 9: Right wing members of 2 groups meeting this afternoon. Let’s see the letters but i think we need a breakaway.

Suella Braverman meets Met chief amid Tory row over protest article | Politics News

Suella Braverman has met the head of the Metropolitan Police to offer the force her “full backing” ahead of controversial pro-Palestine protests taking place this weekend.

On Wednesday, the home secretary wrote an article for The Times newspaper – which was not signed off by Number 10 – attacking the force for “playing favourites” with left wing protesters, and accusing them of “double standards”.

It followed her earlier remarks describing the demonstrations as “hate marches”.

Politics live: Sunak warned to ‘tread carefully’ over Braverman row

Ms Braverman’s comments have ignited a row within the Conservative Party, with some backing the home secretary, while others are calling for her to resign or be sacked.

Opposition parties also accused her of picking a fight with the police, and demanded she be ousted from the Home Office.

Now in an apparent climb down, the minister has met with the head of the force, Sir Mark Rowley, with a source close to Ms Braverman saying she “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”.

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‘We can’t enforce taste or decency’

The prime minister has been under increasing pressure to take action over Ms Braverman’s comments about this weekend’s protests that coincide with Armistice Day.

While the pro-Palestinian march is not set to take place until almost two hours after the nation holds a two-minute silence, and is not due to go to past the Cenotaph in Whitehall, some – including the home secretary – have branded the event offensive and inappropriate.

Sir Mark was summoned to Downing Street earlier in the week to discuss policing of the march with Rishi Sunak, who vowed to hold the most senior office in the UK “accountable” for what happens on Saturday.

But, despite airing his own concerns about the protest – calling it “disrespectful” – the prime minister conceded there was “a right to peacefully protest” and the march could go ahead.

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Met Police chief ‘accountable’ over protest

The Met chief stood by his decision to let the protest take place throughout the week, saying the “legal threshold” to stop it on security grounds “had not been met”.

However, despite the statements from both Mr Sunak and Sir Mark, the home secretary took to the papers to express her anger at the force’s actions – and publicly contradict her party leader.

After causing a rift within the Conservatives – brought into sharp focus by WhatsApp messages leaked to Sky News – Ms Braverman now appears to be attempting to smooth over relations with the Met.

A source close to her 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.”

Will climbdown be enough to keep Braverman in post?

Rob Powell Political reporter

Rob Powell

Political correspondent


While we haven’t yet heard directly from Suella Braverman, the language being used by a source close to the home secretary this evening suggests something of a climbdown and an attempt to make amends with the Metropolitan Police.

After accusing officers of being too lenient with pro-Palestinian protestors earlier this week, we’re now told she has “emphasised her full backing” for the force and “expressed confidence that any criminality will be dealt with robustly”.

That is a marked change in tone from the broadside levelled at the Met just days ago.

So what’s going on?

Downing Street and the broader government machine have made no secret of their unhappiness with the home secretary’s latest intervention.

While the prime minister is said to still have confidence in Ms Braverman, senior ministers have distanced themselves from their colleague and Number 10 has pointedly briefed that it did not sign off the article.

In other words, there was a distinct impression that this time she may have gone too far and, as such, put her job at risk.

Could the threat of being sacked have forced this change in tone? Maybe. But there’s also the practical context to this.

The home secretary’s controversial remarks risked undermining officers and inflaming tension at protests tomorrow. So this could also be a somewhat belated attempt to calm the situation down.

But whether it will be enough to actually keep Suella Braverman in her post remains to be seen.

Earlier on Friday, the Met released details of the “significant” operation it planned to run in London over the weekend to ensure Remembrance services are protected from disruption by both the march and any counter-protests, which some fear may be held by the far right.

The force said more than 2,000 officers will be on the streets, an exclusion zone had been set up around Whitehall – where Sunday’s main Remembrance event will take place – and putting a 24-hour police presence around the Cenotaph.

In a lengthy statement, they added: “We’ll be using an extensive set of powers to prevent any disruption whatsoever to Remembrance events, policing the demonstration as it passes through parts of the capital, while protecting our communities from those intent on inciting hate, violence and disorder.”

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Braverman asked if she will resign

Shortly before news broke of Ms Braverman’s meeting, the prime minister also issued a statement saying he had been “reassured” by the police over their operation that Remembrance services would be protected.

Suella Braverman accuses Met of ‘double standards’ over pro-Palestinian protests | Politics News

Suella Braverman has accused the police of “double standards” in the way they handle protests – after Rishi Sunak conceded that a pro-Palestine march on Armistice Day will go ahead.

The home secretary has sharply criticised the Metropolitan Police in an op-ed for The Times newspaper – saying there is “a perception that senior police officers play favourites when it comes to protesters”.

It comes after Mr Sunak described Saturday’s planned march in London as “disrespectful”.

Israel-Gaza latest: ‘Security circumstance’ forces Rafah border crossing to close

The prime minister met the chief of the Metropolitan Police on Wednesday afternoon – and had vowed to hold Sir Mark Rowley “accountable” for his decision to greenlight the demonstration.

Sir Mark had resisted calls to try and block a march taking place – and said that, after looking at intelligence, the legal threshold for a ban had not been met.

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The Prime Minister says he’ll hold the Met Police chief ‘accountable’ over a planned protest on Armistice Day

Ms Braverman once again described pro-Palestinian protesters as “hate marchers” – writing that it is “a phrase I do not resile from”.

That is despite numerous government ministers saying they would not use such language.

She wrote that the marches are “problematic, not just because of violence around the fringes but because of the highly offensive content of chants, posters and stickers”.

She added: “This is not a time for naiveté. We have seen with our own eyes that terrorists have been valorised, Israel has been demonised as Nazis and Jews have been threatened with further massacres.”

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The Home Secretary Suella Braverman has criticised pro-Palestinian protests in London

Ms Braverman went on to say that the “heart of the matter” is that she does not “believe that these marches are merely a cry for help for Gaza” but “an assertion of primacy by certain groups – particularly Islamists – of the kind we are more used to seeing in Northern Ireland”.

“Also disturbingly reminiscent of Ulster are the reports that some of Saturday’s march group organisers have links to terrorist groups, including Hamas,” she added.

Claiming that a double standard exists within the Met, she asked: “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?”

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Pensions minister Laura Trott distances herself from Braverman’s comments

Calling for protests to be policed “even-handedly”, the home secretary also questioned why protests for Black Lives Matter were allowed to go ahead during the COVID pandemic, while “lockdown objectors were given no quarter by public order police”.

In words seeming to pile pressure onto Sir Mark Rowley, she concluded: “This weekend the public will expect to see an assertive and proactive approach to any displays of hate, breaches of conditions and general disorder.”

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In response to Ms Braverman’s article, Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, described her as “out of control”

She wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Her article tonight is a highly irresponsible, dangerous attempt to undermine respect for police at a sensitive time, to rip up operational independence and to inflame community tensions.

“No other home secretary of any party would ever do this.”

And London Mayor Sadiq Khan posted: “The Home Sec’s article in The Times is inaccurate, inflammatory & irresponsible.

“At a time when we should be seeking to unite communities – she is dividing them. The Home Sec should support the police to keep everyone safe at this delicate time, not make their job harder.”

And the Liberal Democrats have accused her of “running a Conservative Party leadership campaign, not the Home Office”.

Tory govt source on Braverman’s comparison of “hate marches” by pro-Palestinian protesters to sectarian rallies held in NI during Troubles

A senior Tory government source, commenting on Ms Braverman’s comparison of “hate marches” by pro-Palestinian protesters to sectarian rallies held in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, told Sky’s Beth Rigby: “This is wholly offensive and ignorant of where people in Northern Ireland stand on the issues of Israel and Gaza.

“It would be good to know what she knows about what NI people think about the current Israel-Palestine situation before she casts aspersions.

“It’s clear that the Home Secretary is only looking after her misguided aspirations for leader than responsible leadership as a Home Sec.”

Sunak labels pro-Palestine march ‘disrespectful’

In a statement following a meeting with Met Police chief Sir Mark Rowley, the prime minister conceded that the protest this weekend will go ahead.

He said in a statement: “Saturday’s planned protest is not just disrespectful but offends our heartfelt gratitude to the memory of those who gave so much so that we may live in freedom and peace today.

“But part of that freedom is the right to peacefully protest. And the test of that freedom is whether our commitment to it can survive the discomfort and frustration of those who seek to use it, even if we disagree with them. We will meet that test and remain true to our principles.”

He added: “It’s welcome that the police have confirmed that the march will be away from the Cenotaph and they will ensure that the timings do not conflict with any remembrance events.

“There remains the risk of those who seek to divide society using this weekend as a platform to do so. That is what I discussed with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner in our meeting.”

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The Prime Minister ‘politicking’ over pro-Palestine protest says Ben Jamal.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had accused Mr Sunak of “cowardice” for “picking a fight” with the police.

He tweeted: “Remembrance events must be respected. Full stop.

“But the person the PM needs to hold accountable is his home secretary. Picking a fight with the police instead of working with them is cowardice.”

Downing Street denied seeking to put pressure on the Met, which is operationally independent, and insisted the meeting was about “seeking assurances” that their approach is “robust”.

The Met has said its officers were already preparing for remembrance events over the weekend and “we will do everything in our power to ensure that people who want to mark the occasion can do so safely and without disruption.”

Organisers say protest will be ‘well away’ from Cenotaph

The route marchers plan to take on Armistice Day.
The route marchers plan to take on Armistice Day.

Tens of thousands have demonstrated in London in recent weeks over Palestinian deaths in the Israel-Hamas war – with 29 arrested during a fourth week of protests last Saturday, during which fireworks were thrown.

Organisers of this Saturday’s protest say it will be “well away” from the Cenotaph – going from Hyde Park, around a mile from the war memorial in Whitehall, to the US embassy – and won’t start until after the 11am silence.

Several cabinet ministers have spoken out about the situation, with Health Secretary Steve Barclay telling Sky News that 11 November was the “wrong day” for protest action in London.

He said: “There is a legal threshold and the commissioner is of the view that that legal threshold has not been met.

“Obviously, the Home Office and colleagues will discuss that over the course of the day.”

Sadiq Khan accuses Suella Braverman of ‘posturing’ over Palestine protests | Politics News

Sadiq Khan has criticised Suella Braverman for describing pro-Palestinian protests as “hate marches”, saying her “posturing” could divide communities.

Speaking to Beth Rigby for Sky News’ Politics Hub programme, the Mayor of London said that “by and large”, demonstrations in the capital have seen people acting in a “peaceful, lawful and safe way”.

Instead, he urged the home secretary to listen to calls from the head of the Metropolitan Police Sir Mark Rowley for the government to “step in and provide clarity” over extremism legislation to tackle the “small minority [who] may have acted outside the law”.

Politics live: Boris Johnson was ‘obsessed with older people accepting their fate’, COVID inquiry hears

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets over the past three weeks to show their support for Palestinians amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

While many of the protesters have been calling for an end to the airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, other more troubling incidents have surfaced, including protesters chanting “jihad” or using antisemitic tropes – with five people charged after the latest demonstration on Saturday.

The Met Police has faced criticism for not making more arrests, but the commissioner told Sky News there was a “gap” in the law when it comes to extremism, and there was “scope to be much sharper” in legislation to tackle it.

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‘UK could be sharper in how we deal with extremism’

Speaking after an emergency COBRA meeting chaired by Rishi Sunak on Monday, Ms Braverman gave her assessment of the protests so far, telling broadcasters: “To my mind there is only one way to describe those marches: they are hate marches.”

But Mr Khan disagreed with her language, telling Rigby that the home secretary “should be bringing people together… rather than seeking to divide people by posturing”.

He said: “A cornerstone of our democracy is the ability to protest, to lobby MP politicians, to email them, to go to their surgeries, to get involved in civic society.

“By and large, over the last three weeks, the hundreds of thousands of people who’ve been protesting have been doing it in a peaceful, lawful and safe way.

“I accept a small minority may have acted outside the law. That may be a grey area. And what the home secretary should be doing is listening to her commissioner, who has said quite clearly the government should be stepping in and providing clarity in relation to laws around extremism.”

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Thousands protest for ceasefire

The mayor spoke about the 2000s when tensions in the Middle East were heightened over the Iraq war.

He said one of the things the Labour government he was then in “encouraged, particularly Muslims to do in this country, was to get involved in mainstream politics… and what she’s doing, either intentionally or unintentionally, is driving citizens away from mainstream democracy, which is protest”.

Sadiq Khan says ULEZ 'landmark decision is good news for London'.

Mr Khan added: “We’ve seen an increase in Islamophobia and antisemitism. [Ms Braverman] should be bringing people together, explaining – look, you can have strong views, be pro-Palestinian, but you must not be antisemitic.

You can have strong views supporting the government of Israel, but you can also have sympathy and empathy for those in Gaza and want to bring people together. [She could] unite our society rather than seeking to divide people by posturing.”

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Pro-Palestinian protesters sit down at Waterloo station

Mr Khan said he was “speaking on a daily basis” with the Met and had received briefings from the commissioner over the recent protests.

“The police have got to police without fear or favour, whatever their views are… they’ve got to enforce the law,” he said.

“And if there’s confusion in the law, what the home secretary can be doing, which would be helpful, is provide clarity. Rather than doing that, she’s using [this] language.”

Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge

Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge

Sky News Monday to Thursday at 7pm.
Watch live on Sky channel 501, Freeview 233, Virgin 602, the Sky News website and app or YouTube.

Tap here for more

But defending her cabinet colleague over her initial remarks, Environment Secretary Therese Coffey said Ms Braverman had “reflected the repulsion that many people heard when they heard these chants of basically demanding an end to Israel”

She did tell broadcasters, however, that she was “very conscious that’s a minority of people” on the marches.

Suella Braverman to challenge Met Police chief after man filmed chanting ‘jihad’ during protest | UK News

The home secretary will challenge the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police over the force’s decision not to arrest pro-Palestine protesters calling for a “jihad” against Israel.

Suella Braverman will tell Sir Mark Rowley later “there can be no place for incitement to hatred or violence” on UK streets and police should “crackdown on anyone breaking the law”.

Some ministers have condemned the police for their handling of rallies in London and other cities including Birmingham, Cardiff and Belfast over the weekend in response to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Politics latest: Terror arrests made in UK since start of Israel-Hamas war

The force said officers had also reviewed a video of a Hizb ut-Tahrir protest showing a man speaking into a microphone in front of a banner reading “Muslim Armies! Rescue the People of Palestine”.

The main speaker asks: “What is the solution to liberate people from the concentration camp called Palestine?”

A man standing to the side of the speaker, but neither on a platform nor speaking into the microphone, can then be heard chanting words including “jihad, jihad”, as can some others attending the rally.

Responding to the post on social media, the Met said specialist counter-terrorism officers had not identified any offences arising from the clip.

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Tensions over London protests

In a statement, the force said: “The word (jihad) has a number of meanings but we know the public will most commonly associate it with terrorism.

“Specialist officers have assessed the video and have not identified any offences arising from the specific clip. We have also sought advice from specialist Crown Prosecution Service lawyers, who have reached the same conclusion.

“However, recognising the way language like this will be interpreted by the public and the divisive impact it will have, officers identified the man involved and spoke to him to discourage any repeat of similar chanting.”

Jihad can mean struggle or effort, but it has also been taken to refer to holy war.

Read more:
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Sir Mark was already scheduled to meet Ms Braverman later today.

A source close to the home secretary said: “The home secretary is already due to meet the Metropolitan Police commissioner tomorrow (Monday) to discuss the ongoing Israel-Gaza protests and will be asking for an explanation over the response to incidents which took place on Saturday.

“There can be no place for incitement to hatred or violence on Britain’s streets and, as the home secretary has made clear, the police are urged to crack down on anyone breaking the law.”

Earlier, immigration minister Robert Jenrick said people chanting “jihad” on the streets of the capital were “inciting terrorist violence”.

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‘Terror arrests made in UK’, says Jenrick

He told Sky News’ Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips: “Chanting ‘jihad’ on the streets of London is completely reprehensible and I never want to see scenes like that. It is inciting terrorist violence and it needs to be tackled with the full force of the law.

“Ultimately, it’s an operational matter for the police and the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) whether to press charges.”

He added: “Arrests have been made… There have been arrests since the beginning of this situation… There have been arrests under terrorist legislation. And we want to do everything that we can to protect British Jews.

“But this is a broader question beyond just legality. It also is a question about values. And there should be a consensus in this country that chanting things like ‘jihad’ is completely reprehensible and wrong and we don’t ever want to see that in our country.”

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‘From the river to the sea’ explained

Jewish safety organisation the Community Security Trust criticised the Met, saying that “in trying to communicate complex and nuanced legal issues” on social media “they gave the impression of legitimising obnoxious and hateful behaviour that may or may not be criminal but nevertheless causes profound concern to British Jews and many other people”.

In a message on the Hizb ut-Tahrir website, explaining why it decided to hold demonstrations on Saturday outside the Egyptian and Turkish Embassies in London, the group said Palestinians have been subject to “brutal oppression” and called on Egypt and Turkey to unite in “rescuing their Palestinian brothers and sisters”.

Waving a Palestinian flag on British streets ‘may not be legitimate’, Suella Braverman warns | UK News

Waving a Palestinian flag on British streets “may not be legitimate” if it is done to show support for acts of terrorism, the home secretary has told police chiefs.

In a letter to chief constables across England and Wales, Suella Braverman urged officers to use the “full force of the law” against shows of support for Hamas following its unprecedented attack against Israel.

It comes after vigils were held in Westminster for Israeli civilians killed and held captive, while pro-Palestinian rallies took place outside the Israeli embassy in Kensington.

Read more: Israel vows to ‘wipe out’ Hamas – live updates

Ms Braverman said targeting Jewish neighbourhoods, waving pro-Palestinian or pro-Hamas symbols, and chanting anti-Israeli slogans could all amount to public order offences.

Hamas has been proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the UK and many other Western nations, including the EU and the US.

Because of this, she reminded police forces that it is a criminal offence for people in the UK to:

• Belong to Hamas or invite support for the group

• Wear clothing in public that suggests they are a member or supporter of Hamas

• Publish images of flags or logos linked to the organisation

Ms Braverman joined officers in a patrol of Golders Green on Monday

“At a time when Hamas terrorists are massacring civilians and taking the most vulnerable (including the elderly, women, and children) hostage, we can all recognise the harrowing effect that displays of their logos and flags can have on communities,” Ms Braverman wrote.

 Suella Braverman speaks to volunteers during a visit to Bolton Lads and Girls Club
Suella Braverman has written to the UK’s chief constables

She added unrest in the Middle East has previously been used “as a pretext to stir up hatred against British Jews” – and there is an “obvious risk this pattern will be repeated during the current conflict”.

“In the past, this has included vandalism of Jewish businesses, desecration of memorials and religious sites, physical and verbal abuse of Jews on the streets, convoys driving through Jewish neighbourhoods hurling antisemitic abuse, and proliferation of antisemitism online,” she warned.

Read more:
Babies killed in Hamas attack, Israel says
Why is Hamas in conflict with Israel?
What is life like in the Gaza Strip?

A Tube train bridge, branded with 'Free Palestine' graffiti, is seen in in Golders Green, London, Britain, October 9, 2023. REUTERS/Anna Gordon
‘Free Palestine’ was daubed on a railway bridge in north London

On Monday, a kosher restaurant in Golders Green – an area of north London with a significant Jewish population – had its windows smashed and a cash register stolen, while “Free Palestine” was daubed on a nearby railway bridge.

The graffiti is being investigated as a potential hate crime by the British Transport Police, with local authorities describing it as a “deliberate attempt to intimidate the Jewish community”.

A vandalised Kosher restaurant is seen near a bridge with 'Free Palestine' painted on it, in Golders Green in London, Britain, October 9, 2023. REUTERS/Anna Gordon
A kosher restaurant was vandalised in Golders Green

Ms Braverman went on to stress online offending must be treated as seriously as offline incidents – and all perpetrators must face “heavy criminal consequences” to prevent future incidents and ensure Jewish communities feel safe.

“There can be no place for antisemitism or glorification of terrorism on the streets of Britain,” she added.

Priti Patel takes aim at Suella Braverman as she says multiculturalism speech may have been made ‘to get attention’ | Politics News

Suella Braverman’s claim that “multiculturalism has failed” may have been made “to get attention”, according to her predecessor.

The current home secretary has faced a raft of criticism since making the comment earlier this week as part of a wider speech demanding an overhaul of the international asylum system.

But Priti Patel said the UK should be “proud” of the “dynamic communities” in the UK, and making such interventions were “not a substitute for delivery” on government policies.

Priti Patel (left) took aim at Suella Braverman ahead of the Tory party conference

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Speaking to Sky News’ Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips, the former cabinet minister said: “[Ms Braverman’s speech] was very much about making interventions… [but] that is not a substitute for delivery around changes to policy in government.

“Now, I don’t know what the intention was around that, whether it be to get attention [or] have the dividing line… as we go into a run up to a the general election.

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Braverman challenged over migration

Read more:
What are the different factions in the Conservative Party?
Tory calls for PM to slash ‘unsustainable’ tax burden

“I can understand that, I can absolutely understand that, but you and I are sitting here today, we are the actual products of integration, multiculturalism, dynamic communities, people that love our country, want to contribute to our country, along with a hell of a lot of other people that have done exactly the same, and I think that is something we should be proud of in our country.”

Asked if the speech was an attempt to distract the public from failures to tackle immigration issues in government, Ms Patel said ministers had been “clear” on their plans.

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But, she added: “This side of the general election, if I may politely suggest, it is about delivery and the government will be judged on delivery.

“If you make the pledges, statements and promises, you have to deliver. Pledges are no substitute for action and I think the public are sick of hearing about some of these issues and the failure to deliver, and I think it is right everyone puts a shoulder to the wheel, cracks on and delivers.”

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‘Being gay isn’t enough to claim asylum’

Ms Braverman has continued to defend her speech amid the fallout, with the likes of Elton John criticising her over her claims “simply being gay, or a woman, and fearful of discrimination in your country of origin” was not “sufficient to qualify for protection”.

In an interview with the Mail On Sunday, she accused her critics of being “out-of-touch pampered elites” who were “virtue-signalling”.

But Labour’s shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, told reporters the home secretary was “more interested in going after Elton John than going after criminals”.

UN refugee agency criticises Suella Braverman speech branding illegal migration ‘existential challenge’ | Politics News

The United Nations’ refugee agency has rebuked Home Secretary Suella Braverman after she claimed the current asylum system is no longer fit for purpose.

Ms Braverman called for a reform of the international system in a speech in Washington DC.

She outlined how she believed the current system was “outdated”, and branded the number of displaced people in the world as an “epoch-defining challenge”.

The senior cabinet minister – whose speech was signed off by Number 10 – called for reform of the 1951 UN Human Rights Convention, which forms the basis of the asylum system.

The UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR, responded to Ms Braverman’s speech by saying the convention “remains as relevant today as when it was adopted in providing an indispensable framework for addressing those challenges, based on international co-operation”.

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‘Being gay isn’t enough to claim asylum’

“The need is not for reform, or more restrictive interpretation, but for stronger and more consistent application of the convention and its underlying principle of responsibility sharing,” it added.

“An appropriate response to the increase in arrivals and to the UK’s current asylum backlog would include strengthening and expediting decision-making procedures.

“This would accelerate the integration of those found to be refugees and facilitate the swift return of those who have no legal basis to stay.

“UNHCR has presented the UK government with concrete and actionable proposals in this regard and continues to support constructive, ongoing efforts to clear the current asylum backlog.”

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Ms Braverman said uncontrolled and illegal migration is an “existential challenge for the political and cultural institutions of the West” – adding that “uncontrolled immigration, inadequate integration, and a misguided dogma of multiculturalism have proven a toxic combination for Europe over the last few decades”.

Part of her speech criticised how current levels of migration have led to “undermining the stability and threatening the security of society” in “extreme cases”.

“If people are not able to settle in our countries, and start to think of themselves as British, American, French, or German, then something is going badly wrong,” she added.

Ms Braverman said “we now live in a completely different time” to when the UN Human Rights Convention was signed.

She went on: “Is the Refugee Convention in need of reform?

“What would a revised global asylum framework look like?

“How can we better balance national rights and human rights, so that the latter do not undermine national sovereignty?”

Read more:
Braverman orders review into ‘political activism’ in policing
Govt not ruling out electronic tagging to control migrants

Ms Braverman also questioned whether courts have redefined asylum to be granted for people suffering “discrimination” instead of “persecution” – especially in the context of someone who is gay or a woman.

“Where individuals are being persecuted, it is right that we offer sanctuary.

“But we will not be able to sustain an asylum system if, in effect, simply being gay, or a woman, and fearful of discrimination in your country of origin, is sufficient to qualify for protection.”

Punchy home secretary landing blows ahead of party conference

It is no surprise to hear Suella Braverman talking tough on immigration.

Even so, today’s language is particularly punchy.

She talks about the “obvious threat to public safety and national security” illegal immigration poses and says “nobody entering the UK by boat from France is fleeing imminent peril”.

There has been backlash already, unsurprisingly, from charities and NGOs. One man who crossed the Channel in 2019 (fleeing Iran) told me the home secretary has “turned her back” on those in need.

It is criticism the home secretary is used to. Beyond the ethics, though, there is the question of whether anything she says will actually shift the dial.

The most eye-catching part of the home secretary’s speech was her call to reform the UN Refugee Convention. She says the convention, set up after the Second World War, needs to adapt for a “different time” and its application has shifted too far from helping people fleeing “persecution” to those fleeing “discrimination”.

It’s not clear there is any appetite to reform the convention from the 140+ other countries signed up to it. It won’t fix the small boats problem any time soon.

She also spoke about the importance of deterrents: Rwanda and the Illegal Migration Bill. The Rwanda plan has been bogged down in court, and there is no proof yet that government legislation will work. Small boat crossings are down from last year, but they are still much higher than 2021. Last month, more than 800 people crossed the Channel in a single day.

Suella Braverman pointed to polling showing most red wall voters want to stop small boat crossings “using any means necessary”. She did not point to the recent YouGov poll suggesting 86% believe the government is handling immigration badly.

Her speech may not distract from the perils of the government’s illegal migration policy, but it certainly sends a message ahead of the Conservative Party conference.

The speech and its contents were met with criticism from a range of charities, MPs and campaigners.

Ben Bradshaw, a gay Labour MP and former cabinet minister, asked if any “LGBT or any other Tories” were prepared to condemn the home secretary, adding that “being gay is enough to result in persecution or death in many countries”.

Michael Fabricant, a Tory MP and a patron of the Conservative LGBT+ group, said that “if someone simply claims to be gay in order to seek asylum, that should not lift the bar to entry to the UK”.

He added: “However, if someone has experienced persecution from the country from which they are escaping, it presents a different and far more persuasive case. Each application should be considered carefully on its merits.”

Read more:
Debate over Refugee Convention is vital to protect the most vulnerable

Braverman has leadership ambitions – but her rhetoric risks backfiring

‘Cynicism and xenophobia’

Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s chief executive, said: “The Refugee Convention is a cornerstone of the international legal system and we need to call out this assault on the convention for what it is – a display of cynicism and xenophobia.

“The Refugee Convention is just as relevant today as it was when it was created, and verbal assaults from the home secretary don’t alter the harsh realities that cause people from countries such as Sudan, Afghanistan and Iran to flee from conflict and persecution.”

He added: “Instead of making inflammatory speeches decrying the rights of people fleeing persecution and tyranny, Suella Braverman should focus on creating a functioning UK asylum system that tackles the massive backlog her policies have created, so as to be able to meet the limited refugee responsibilities that fall to the UK.”

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Josie Naughton, chief executive of Choose Love, said: “It is the home secretary, not the global refugee convention, that is out of touch with the modern age.

“The UN’s 1951 Refugee Convention was put in place to protect every human being searching for safety, fleeing war zones, danger and threats to their life and freedoms. More than ever, the world must come together and unite behind it. We cannot solve this problem by seeking to undermine fundamental human rights. Working together is the only solution.”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman questions whether international migration rules are ‘fit for purpose’ | Politics News

The home secretary has questioned whether international migration rules and conventions designed more than a century ago are “fit for purpose” ahead of a major speech in the United States.

Suella Braverman suggested a shake-up of international rules could be needed to tackle the migrant crisis.

She warned a failure to address the problem will undermine the “democratic legitimacy” of political institutions.

Ms Braverman has previously stated her personal view that the UK should leave the European Convention on Human Rights signed in 1950, which she has blamed for hampering efforts to introduce tough policies, such the Home Office bid to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Critics of her approach also questioned its compliance with the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention.

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‘Will you electronically tag migrants?’

Ahead of her trip, the home secretary said: “Illegal migration and the unprecedented mass movement of people across the globe is placing unsustainable pressures on America, the UK, and Europe.

“We must come together and ask whether the international conventions and legal frameworks designed 50-plus years ago are fit for purpose in an age of jet travel and smartphones.

“I’m going to Washington to discuss this crisis with our American counterparts.

“If we fail to meet these challenges, then our political institutions risk losing their democratic legitimacy.”

Ms Braverman will travel to Washington on Monday and deliver a keynote speech on Tuesday setting out her assessment of the global migration challenges.

She will present a blueprint for how other countries can combat the crisis and claim the UK has led the way in bringing forward innovative approaches to tackle the problem.

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Almost 24,000 people have been detected crossing the English Channel so far this year, despite Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s promise to “stop the boats” – though the figure is down from 2022.

The Rwanda scheme has been bogged down in legal battles, while an attempt to house people waiting for claims to be assessed on a barge in Dorset is paused after Legionella was discovered on board.

Ms Braverman is expected to also use her trip to seek closer co-operation with US authorities on tackling illegal migration and people traffickers.

Government not ruling out using electronic tagging to control migrants – Suella Braverman | Politics News

The government is not ruling out using electronic tagging to control migrants who come to the UK illegally.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman told Sky News she is willing to use a “range of options” in dealing with migrants who cross the Channel in small boats.

It comes after a report in The Times said the Home Office is considering fitting asylum seekers arriving in the UK via unauthorised means with electronic tags.

The paper said officials are looking at it as a way to stop the absconding of migrants who cannot be housed in detention centres because they are full to capacity.

Ms Braverman also:
• Blamed “a range of forces” seeking to block ministers stopping small boats
• Said she would “do what it takes” to stop them even if “thwarted by the courts”
• Insisted the Bibby Stockholm barge is safe, despite concerns

Ms Braverman told Sky’s Jayne Secker: “We’ve just enacted a landmark piece of legislation in the form of our Illegal Migration Act – that empowers us to detain those who arrive here illegally and thereafter swiftly remove them to a safe country like Rwanda.

“That will require a power to detain and ultimately control those people – we need to exercise a level of control if we are to remove them from the United Kingdom. We are considering a range of options.

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Asylum backlog hits new record high

“We have a couple of thousand detention places in our existing removal capacity. We will be working intensively to increase that but it’s clear we are exploring a range of options – all options – to ensure that we have that level of control of people so they can flow through our system swiftly to enable us to remove them.”

Ms Braverman conceded the government may have to provide more detention places while it waits for the outcome of the legal challenges against the Rwanda scheme.

“If we are successful [in court], we will be operationalising our police. If we’re thwarted by the courts, we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure we stop the boats. It is a pledge the prime minister has made, it is one I have made and it is one we are working night and day to deliver.”

Read more:
Asylum bill doubles to nearly £4bn
Asylum backlog in UK hits record high
Govt plan on illegal migration could spark ‘perma-backlog’

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Investigation shows skilled worker visa system being abused

She also blamed a “range of forces… immigration lawyers, charities, NGOs, many of whom have very close links with the Labour Party” for delaying the government’s Rwanda policy.

Defending the government’s payment of £500m to France to police the beaches, Ms Braverman said it is “absolutely critical to succeeding in stopping the boats”.

“At the highest levels, between prime minister and president, we are collaborating and working closely.”

She added: “There have been hundreds of arrests of people-smuggling gangs and convictions of those who are facilitating illegal migration.

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Starmer criticises government’s handling of asylum system

“The only effective way to stop this problem is to break the model of the people-smuggling gangs though upstream interception but also by deterrents and ensuring that those who attempt this journey in the first place will be penalised and will have to face consequences such as removal from the United Kingdom.”

The government is also facing a potential legal challenge from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) over the Bibby Stockholm barge being used to house migrants.

Concerns have been raised about the safety of the barge – which is moored in Portland, Dorset. The asylum seekers which were onboard have been moved off after Legionella bacteria was found in the water supply.

Matt Wrack, the general secretary of the FBU, told Sky News his union had sent a “pre-action letter”, to which Ms Braverman needed to reply to by the end of this week.

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Govt “ought to own” migrant problems – Labour

The union is hoping to get details about the barge from the Home Office, and claimed the secretary of state has refused to meet them.

But Ms Braverman later told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the Bibby Stockholm barge was safe, but could not say when asylum seekers would return to the vessel.

The Home Secretary said: “We’re waiting for the processes to complete and once they are done, we will be moving people back onto the barge.

Justin Madders, the shadow employment minister, criticised Ms Braverman’s refusal to rule out electronic tagging, saying: “The only people you tag are criminals – my understanding is that people coming to this country seeking asylum are not criminals.

“They’re usually fleeing persecution and if there was a problem with people absconding, this is the first I’ve heard about it.

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“This is just another gimmick that is not dealing with the root of the problem at all.

“[Braverman’s] party has been in power for 13 years, to keep blaming the Labour Party for every failure of the government is quite pathetic frankly. They need to own this problem. To blame other people is symptomatic of a bankrupt government,” he said.