Braverman fighting for political life with Sunak poised to wield axe in hours

The Prime Minister has faced growing calls to sack Mrs Braverman for stoking tensions ahead of Armistice Day on Saturday in an unauthorised newspaper article.

The Home Secretary attempted to ease tensions and save her job through a statement on Sunday night.

Mrs Braverman condemned anti-Semitic chants and placards at Saturday’s pro-Palestinian march and called for “further action”.

The under-fire Home Secretary said: “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.”

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In her first public comments since violent scenes in London on Saturday, the Home Secretary said on X: “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 on Saturday.

“That multiple officers were injured doing their duty is an outrage.”

The Home Secretary, 43, has been accused of inflaming tensions after she branded pro-Palestinian protesters “hate marchers” and accused the police of bias for letting the rally go ahead on remembrance weekend.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps failed to back Mrs Braverman’s survival as Home Secretary for another seven days during an interview on Sunday.

He said “A week’s a long time in politics” when asked whether his Cabinet colleague will stay in her role next weekend.

A government source said: “We are not 100 percent sure but it is looking like a reshuffle [on Monday].”

Another source said that a grid showing Downing Street’s plans for the day appeared to have been cleared which “allows for the Prime Minister to hold a reshuffle”.

An ally of Mrs Braverman added: “A reshuffle [on Monday] is probably bad news for [Suella]. If he [Sunak] is going to sack her he will do it quickly.”

Mr Shapps did not rise to suggestions that she had stirred up the debate around protests over the remembrance weekend and said it was “perfectly proper” for her to engage in the debate.

Pressed about whether Mrs Braverman stirred up the debate, the Defence Secretary told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg: “When you say stirred up – discussed by yes – it is absolutely right to talk about it.

“We live in a democratic society. It is perfectly proper to discuss whether this was an appropriate weekend to go out and do this.”

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Asked if Mrs Braverman carried any responsibility for the disorder on Saturday, Mr Shapps had earlier said: “Just to be absolutely clear, the people who bear entire responsibility are the thugs who turned up in and around the Cenotaph area in Whitehall, and then in Chinatown and Soho and elsewhere.”

Chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt also distanced himself from Mrs Braverman last week over her accusation that police were biased in favour of left-wing “mobs” on pro-Palestinian marches.

Rumours have swirled over whether Mr Sunak, 43, will reshuffle several members of his top team to avoid the drama of a straight sacking of his Home Secretary.

There are also questions around whether a possible reshuffle will happen before the Supreme Court rules on whether the Government’s Rwanda policy, championed by Mrs Braverman, is lawful.

If the Supreme Court overturns the appeal on Wednesday and gives the Rwanda plan the green light it could strengthen Ms Braverman’s political position.

A senior Tory MP said: “It’s critically important that Sunak ties himself as closely as possible to Suella in order to keep the party together.

“If he were to turn on Suella, he’d essentially be turning on the centre-right of the party and a large proportion of Tory voters and members. That would be really bad so he needs to tie himself closely to her.”

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf called for Mrs Braverman to be sacked and not be allowed to resign.

Veterans’ affairs minister Johnny Mercer said he was “frustrated” Remembrance events have been “clouded” by “culture wars”.

Ms Braverman’s article in The Times, in which she claimed officers “play favourites” towards pro-Palestinian “mobs”, was disowned by Downing Street and provoked fury among Tory MPs, with no Cabinet ministers publicly backing her.

Mr Sunak is in a vulnerable position with his party trailing 21 points in the polls, pollsters and politicians have warned.

One Tory MP said: “Things really could not get any worse with a different leader.”

Meanwhile, former cabinet minister Nadine Dorries said it was “almost impossible to believe” that Mrs Braverman’s article accusing the police of bias after they resisted pressure to ban the pro-Palestinian march had not been given approval by Downing Street.

Asked on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg how difficult the past week has been for the Government to handle, Ms Dorries said “It wouldn’t have been difficult if there had been some kind of cohesive leadership shown within government”.

She added: “I think the fact that we had the whole story about Suella’s article not having been given approval, I find that almost impossible to believe, having served as a secretary of state myself.

“But then you had a prime minister trying to ride a number of horses at any one time and to please everybody, and you can’t do that when you’re a prime minister and a leader.

“You have to show absolute distinctive leadership. I’m afraid that Rishi Sunak just failed in that and I think a lot of the problems don’t lie at Suella Braverman’s door, they are at the Prime Minister’s door because he’s the person in charge.”

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