Why was Suella Braverman sacked? The controversial comment that led to her firing

Suella Braverman has been sacked as home secretary as Rishi Sunak took action following her unauthorised article criticising the way pro-Palestinian protests had been policed.

Suella Braverman has been sacked as home secretary after Rishi Sunak took action following her unauthorised article criticising the way pro-Palestinian protests had been policed.

A No 10 source said the Prime Minister “asked Suella Braverman to leave Government and she has accepted”.

Last week, Braverman faced calls to resign as she was accused of stoking tensions with with an explosive article published without sign-off from Downing Street in which she accused police of "playing favourites" with pro-Palestinian protesters

The Home Secretary defied Rishi Sunak with the article, published in The Times ahead of a march calling for a Gaza ceasefire.

The article, in which Braverman said "pro-Palestinian mobs" are "largely ignored" by officers "even when clearly breaking the law", was reportedly submitted to Downing Street, but did not get signed off as significant alterations were requested.

A pro-Palestinian protester from the Free Palestine Coalition holds a sign referring to comments made by Home Secretary Suella Braverman during a sit-down protest at Piccadilly Circus to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza on 4th November 2023 in London, United Kingdom. Mass Palestinian solidarity rallies have been held throughout the UK for a fourth consecutive weekend to call for an end to the Israeli bombardment of Gaza. (photo by Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Braverman has described marches calling for a ceasefire in Gaza as 'hate marches'. (Getty)

Braverman's article was the latest in a series of controversial comments about marches calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, which she has described as "hate marches", and while she was initially supportive of the police, she was accused of 'crossing the line' by breaking the convention that a Home Secretary should not question the operational integrity of the police.

Here is a timeline of Braverman's comments leading up to her sacking.

10 October

Three days after the brutal incursion by Hamas militants into Israeli territory that resulted in the deaths of 1,400 civilians and soldiers, chief constables in England and Wales, Braverman urges chief constables in England and Wales to consider whether chants such as: "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" could amount to a racially aggravated section 5 public order offence.

In the letter, she calls for them to ensure that any protests which could "exacerbate community tensions" or be "construed as incitement or harassment" would have a strong police presence.

"Decisions on arrests are rightly an operational matter for the police, in line with the duty to keep the peace, to protect communities, and to prevent the commission of offences," she wrote.

"However, I would urge you to ensure your forces use all available powers to prevent disorder and distress to our communities, and that your officers will act if there are any incidents that stray into criminality."

15 October

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Braverman issues a warning to demonstrators at pro-Palestine rallies that police were 'coming for them', accusing some of glorifying terrorism.

Following the protest, which saw several arrests, she is effusive in her praise to police, writing: "Thank you to police officers who worked so hard yesterday in difficult circumstances to manage tens of thousands of protesters.

"To all those who saw fit to promote genocide, glorify terrorism and mock the murder of Jewish people, including women and babies – the police are coming for you."

30 October

Using the term "hate marches" to describe the protests, Braverman urges officers to take a "zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism", saying she 'would not hesitate' to change laws around chants deemed to be extremist.

She says: "We’ve seen now tens of thousands of people take to the streets following the massacre of Jewish people, the single largest loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust, chanting for the erasure of Israel from the map.

"To my mind there is only one way to describe those marches: they are hate marches."

Watch: Braverman article 'not signed off by Downing Street'

3 November

Braverman joins Rishi Sunak in denouncing a potential protest on Armistice Day, sharing a post in which he describes such a demonstration as "provocative and disrespectful".

She tweets: "It is entirely unacceptable to desecrate Armistice Day with a hate march through London.

"If it goes ahead there is an obvious risk of serious public disorder, violence and damage as well as giving offence to millions of decent British people."

She adds: "I have full confidence in the Metropolitan Police to ensure public safety and take all factors into account as they have done in similar situations in the past."

4 November

As the government seeks to put increasing pressure on organisers of the protest and the Met Police to try and get the march cancelled or banned, Braverman says any protesters who vandalise the Cenotaph should be "put into a jail cell faster than their feet can touch the ground".

She also repeats her vow that she wouldn't "hesitate to act" if it was found police needed stronger powers to deal with what she called "utterly odious" behaviour.

In comments that suggest she wants the Met to act, Braverman says any decision to ban the Armistice Day march would have to be assessed by police before an application to her.

“What we’ve seen in the last few weeks is tens of thousands of people taking to the streets of Britain chanting 'jihad', calling for the erasure of Israel, and behaving in many instances in a flagrantly antisemitic manner.

“To me, those are incredibly offensive and it is utterly odious behaviour.”

8 November

In an article in The Times, Braverman ramps up her criticism of police to new heights, accusing them of "double standards" and "playing favourites" with pro-Palestine protesters.

Her comments follow Met chief Sir Mark Rowley's statement that there is “no absolute power” to ban the protest.

Sir Mark had said intelligence surrounding the potential for serious disorder this weekend did not meet the threshold to apply to prohibit the march.

Braverman writes in the Times: "Right-wing and nationalist protesters who engage in aggression are rightly met with a stern response yet pro-Palestinian mobs displaying almost identical behaviour are largely ignored, even when clearly breaking the law?

"I have spoken to serving and former police officers who have noted this double standard.

"Football fans are even more vocal about the tough way they are policed as compared to politically connected minority groups favoured by the left."

12 November

Suella Braverman condemns antisemitic chants and placards at Saturday’s pro-Palestinian march and calls for “further action”.

Writing on social media site X, the under-fire Home Secretary says: “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.