Suella Braverman has described her sacking as a “bit odd” as she criticised Rishi Sunak for showing a “lack of moral leadership” over the past four weeks.
In her first interview since being asked to leave government, the former home secretary said Mr Sunak would have to “take responsibility for the consequences”, with her departure leading to a widening rift between the right and centre of the party.
She also spoke about her sacking last week, which came after she wrote an article for The Times accusing the police of “double standards” for giving the go-ahead for a pro-Palestine march on Armistice Day.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, she claimed Downing Street had agreed she should write the article, and had seen a draft. But as reported by The Independent, Mr Sunak’s official spokesperson claimed No 10 did not approve the final text.
“It was a bit odd because on the Wednesday we had agreement with No 10 that I should write an article for The Times. We had put a draft together and exchanged versions with the team at No 10 so I find it all very confusing,” Ms Braverman said.
“On the one hand they gave us permission and then the reason that he cited in the call was that he wasn’t happy with the op-ed [opinion article] in The Times.”
She revealed that the prime minister had phoned to sack her as she was making her way into parliament at breakfast time on Monday, and that he had informed her the op ed “wasn’t the right thing to do”.
Ms Braverman’s article sparked a furious outcry after she accused Scotland Yard of “playing favourites” over the rally – claiming police bias had stopped far-right protests, but permitted “pro-Palestine mobs” to demonstrate.
While Mr Sunak’s spokesperson at the time said he retained “full confidence” in her, they confirmed that No 10 did not approve the final text.
Warning of a bleak electoral outlook if Mr Sunak failed to change direction, Ms Braverman also reiterated her calls for the UK to leave the “straightjacket” of human rights laws which have prevented the government’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda from succeeding in the Supreme Court.
Calling for new laws, she said that the pro-Palestinian marches had been “threatening community cohesion and undermining British values”.
“There had been tepid and timid statements from the prime minister throughout the course of this issue and I felt there was a real opportunity for the prime minister to demonstrate some moral leadership, to demonstrate that this is not what Britain stands for, that we are an inclusive, tolerant and respectful nation whereby violence on the streets of Britain is unacceptable,” she said. “I felt that was wholly lacking.”
The day after being sacked, Ms Braverman launched a scathing attack on the prime minister, accusing him of breaking secret promises. She also stated that he had resolved to “wishful thinking” in approaching the Rwanda plan, and she had been repeatedly ignored.
After the publication of her letter, Downing Street said it would not respond to individual accusations, but a spokesperson said: “The prime minister believes in actions not words. He is proud that this government has brought forward the toughest legislation to tackle illegal migration this country has seen and has subsequently reduced the number of boat crossings by a third this year.
“And whatever the outcome of the Supreme Court, he will continue that work.”
William Turner is a seasoned U.K. correspondent with a deep understanding of domestic affairs. With a passion for British politics and culture, he provides insightful analysis and comprehensive coverage of events within the United Kingdom.