Labour Peer Slams Rishi Sunak's 'Sinister' Speech On Mob Rule: 'Bit Of A Cheek'

Baroness Shami Chakrabarti
Baroness Shami Chakrabarti Jonathan Brady - PA Images via Getty Images

Labour peer Shami Chakrabarti described Rishi Sunak’s recent claims about extremism in the UK as “sinister” during an interview on Sunday.

Over the last week, the prime minister has condemned supposed extremists for “trying to tear us apart”, alleged “our democracy itself is a target” amid rising “mob rule” and called for the police to do more to protect the UK.

But, speaking to Sky News at the weekend, Chakrabarti said: “I don’t like his theatre, quite frankly.”

“The thing I find most sinister about it is that he’s almost suggesting that he has read the riot act to the police,” she added.

“He’s called them in, he’s told them that he wants the protests not to be managed, but to be policed.

“I think, in a liberal democracy – and he’s now claiming to be a liberal patriot, that was the language he used – we don’t have prime ministers interfering with operational policing.

“And this has been happening every so often under his government – there will be a summit where the police chiefs have been called to No.10,” she said. “And then there’s a press release about what they’ve been told by the prime minister or the home secretary, and I really don’t like it.

“I don’t think people in Britain want their politicians to be deciding how particular a police operation should be conducted.”

Host Trevor Phillips asked: “Sinister is quite a strong word for this, isn’t it?”

“It really is and I’m using it,” the peer said, adding: “It’s also a bit of a cheek for the prime minister to be talking about these things when so many of his ministers and senior Conservatives have been pouring fuel on the flames of polarisation, on culture war division in our country.”

She continued: “The language of Lee Anderson and Suella Braverman has been a real problem for me.”

Anderson, a backbench MP, lost the Tory whip after refusing to apologise for attacking London mayor Sadiq Khan, claiming the “islamists” had got “control” of the Labour politician.

Braverman, previously the home secretary and now a Tory backbencher, separately claimed “islamists” run Britain. She has not lost the party whip.

Chakrabarti continued: “It’s a bit of a cheek for the prime minister to then come and try and look statesmanlike with his reading the riot act to the police about how they should do their very difficult job.”