Both Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman have been accused of deliberately inflaming community tensions this week, after they piled the pressure on the Met Police to ban a pro-Palestinian march in London. However, this all may have been utterly uneccesary.
Could the Tories have banned pro-Palestine marches?
The Home Secretary was accused of ‘picking a fight’ with law enforcement on Thursday, after her article in The Times accused the Met of ‘being biased’ towards certain groups. The incendiary write-up has put the Prime Minister in a difficult position.
Sunak is being urged to sack Braverman by a number of prominent figures on their side of the political divide. Labour have called the PM ‘weak’ for failing to discipline her, after the article she wrote ‘did not receive authorisation’ from 10 Downing Street.
On Saturday, thousands of people planning to march for a ceasefire in Palestine will face an enormous police presence. Several far-right groups, including organised football hooligan units, are planning a counter-demonstration on Remembrance Day.
Sunak, Braverman accused of being ‘all mouth, no trousers’
The whole affair has been ugly from start to finish. But could it have been avoided entirely? One senior Tory who spoke to the Huffington Post claims that Rishi Sunak DID have the right to ban the pro-Palestine march, by introducing a one-line bill in Parliament.
However, it seems Sunak has instead chosen to intensify the public conflict between the government and the police:
“I spoke to a Conservative MP who says they could have passed a simple one-line bill to Parliament this week to ban the march. The fact they didn’t do that shows they are all mouth, and no trousers. Ministers have been talking up the possibility of trouble all week.” | Kevin Schofield
New anti-protest laws would have allowed the banning of marches
As per the new Public Order Bill, the government now has the power to block protests which risk ‘serious disruption’. Secretaries of State, such as Suella and Sunak, are also empowered to apply for injunctions *if* certain protests pose a threat to public safety.
If they truly believed their own rhetoric, shutting down the marches on Remembrance Day – though still unpopular – would have been consistent with what has been said by the pair this week. Unfortunately, they appear to be playing a different game entirely.