UK’s Rishi Sunak fires Suella Braverman after row with police over pro-Palestinian marches

LONDON — Rishi Sunak fired his home secretary, Suella Braverman, Monday after a bitter row over the policing of a pro-Palestinian march on the streets on London.

Braverman published an explosive article in the Times last week accusing police of treating pro-Palestinian protesters more favorably than nationalists and the far-right. The article was not signed off by Sunak’s team in No.10 Downing Street.

A No.10 official said: “Rishi Sunak has asked Suella Braverman to leave government and she has accepted.”

Braverman is a popular figure on the right of the governing Conservative party, and is tipped to run for leader should the Tories, who are lagging in the polls, suffer a defeat under Sunak at the next general election. Her exit means Sunak will now have to pick a new top interior minister and reshuffle his Cabinet.

Braverman’s dramatic sacking comes after violent scenes in London on Saturday.

Far-right counter-protesters vowing to protect war memorials from the pro-Palestinian demo clashed with police, while some of those who broke away from the main demonstration also behaved “in an intimidating manner,” according to a statement from the Metropolitan Police. The Met said Sunday night that 145 people had been arrested in relation to the demo so far — with the “vast majority” counter-protestors.

In the aftermath of the demonstration, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement that “a week of intense debate about protest and policing” had helped to “increase community tensions” — seen as a veiled reference to Braverman’s criticism of the force.

British police are operationally independent of government, and the opposition Labour Party had accused Braverman — whose brief included law and order — of “demeaning” her office by appearing to question the judgment of top officers.