Politics

Suella Braverman sacked as home secretary after targeting police and rough sleepers

Suella Braverman

Suella Braverman's comments on rough sleeping have sparked fury – and inspired action. Image: UK Home Office

Suella Braverman has been sacked as home secretary by prime minister Rishi Sunak after accusing police of favouring pro-Palestine protests and claiming rough sleeping is a ‘lifestyle choice’.

It comes after the Conservative Party announced Sunak was carrying out a reshuffle to “strengthen his team in government to deliver long-term decisions for a brighter future”. She will be replaced by James Cleverly, who previously served as Foreign Secretary. The role of Foreign Secretary will be filled by former Prime Minister David Cameron.

Suella Braverman will “have more to say in due course,” a statement to PA indicated, describing her tenure in the role as “the greatest privilege of [her] life”.

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The dramatic sacking follows a fortnight of scandal for now-former home secretary.

On Thursday (9 November), Braverman penned an unauthorised article – published in The Times – in which she accused the Met Police of being overly lenient on pro-Palestinian ‘mobs.’ After far-right extremists attacked police near the Cenotaph on Saturday (11 November), the police blamed Braverman for inflaming tensions. She has not commented on this accusation, instead promising to crackdown on pro-Palestinian protestors.

At the start of November, the controversial Tory MP for Fareham described rough sleeping as a “lifestyle choice”.

“We cannot allow our streets to be taken over by rows of tents occupied by people, many of them from abroad, living on the streets as a lifestyle choice,” she said.

“What I want to stop, and what the law-abiding majority wants us to stop, is those who cause nuisance and distress to other people by pitching tents in public spaces, aggressively begging, stealing, taking drugs, littering, and blighting our communities.”

Under planned proposals, frontline charities could be fined if they provide homeless people with tents.

Suella Braverman’s proposals and inflammatory comments have attracted widespread criticism, including from Big Issue founder Lord John Bird.

“If you don’t deal with a problem when it’s a social problem then, at times, it becomes a law and order problem,” said Lord Bird

“If the root causes of poverty and homelessness had been addressed decades ago, you wouldn’t have this need transferred to the streets of the UK. We need grown-up thinking rather than responding to the issue with a policy that infers homelessness is a law and order offence, which Suella Braverman is doing here.”

Days after Braverman’s comments, a video from grassroots homeless outreach group Streets Kitchen showed tents being destroyed on Huntley Street in Camden, North London. The has been shared more than 8,000 times on X, formerly known as Twitter.

A member of Streets Kitchen told The Big Issue the group were aware of a dispersal order under Section 35 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime & Policing Act and that officials would attend the area to evict a group of rough sleepers on Friday (10 November).

The group claimed people living on the streets in the area were given 90 minutes to leave the area before their tents were destroyed.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed to The Big Issue that officers attended citing concerns over 10 tents and one person was arrested for failing to relocate from the area.

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