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No10 Says It Did Not Approve Suella Braverman's Controversial Palestine Protest Article

Home Secretary Suella Braverman (Alamy)

2 min read

Downing Street did not approve Home Secretary Suella Braverman's highly-contentious piece about this weekend's pro-Palestine march being published in The Times.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Thursday that the article, which appeared in the newspaper on Wednesday night, "was not cleared by No10".

In the piece, which has sparked fresh outrage among opposition parties and some Tory MPs, she doubled down on her description of this weekend's march as a "hate march", and accused the Metropolitan Police of a "double standard" in how it responds to protests by different groups.

Sunak's spokesperson said that No10 would investigate how the piece was allowed to reach publication without first being approved by Downing Street, and may later provide an update. 

"We are looking into what happened in this instance around the op-ed and we will update if appropriate," they said. 

No10 had asked the Home Secretary to make significant changes to the piece before giving it to the newspaper for publication, but this did not happen, PoliticsHome understands.

Sunak's official spokesperson refused to endorse a line in Braverman's piece which compared what she has described as "hate" marches that are set to take place in Westminster this weekend, with what "we are more used to seeing in Northern Ireland".

"These are not words that the Prime Minister has used," said the PM's spokesperson.

It is the latest example of Sunak distancing himself from comments made by Braverman in recent days in relation to the march as well as homelessness being a "lifestyle choice". Numerous members of the Cabinet have also refused to agree with her words.

Despite this, Sunak still has confidence in the Home Secretary, according to his spokesperson.

As well as fresh questions over Braverman's loyalty to Sunak, there is a possibility that the Home Secretary may have breached the ministerial code by having the piece published. The code states that ministers must have media appearances cleared by No10. 

PoliticsHome reported on Thursday morning that the Prime Minister's patience with Braverman was wearing thin following a number of controversies surrounding her comments, and that he was considering whether it was worth keeping in his Cabinet.

One senior Tory said it would be an "understatement" to say that Downing Street and government whips had received complaints from many Conservative MPs about the Home Secretary's remarks about the march and homelessness in recent days.

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