Labour using Braverman row to attack PM
The row over Suella Braverman is a gift to Labour, and not just because it provides a welcome distraction from their own internal divisions over the issue of a ceasefire in Gaza.
The party’s big hitters have been out in force to capitalise on the situation today – with shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper thundering against her for making an “unprecedented attack on the police”, “inflaming community tensions”, and “putting her own leadership ambitions above the interests of the country”.
Sir Keir Starmer said she was “out of control” and “doing the complete opposite of what most people in this country would see as the proper role of the home secretary”, while London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan claimed her actions were “stoking division and dividing communities”.
This morning Jonathan Reynolds, the shadow business secretary, told Kay Burley the prime minister should sack her if it emerged her comments hadn’t been signed off by Number 10. We now know they weren’t.
But Labour’s tactics seem to have shifted somewhat this lunchtime; instead of focusing primarily on Ms Braverman herself, they’re using the situation to make a targeted attack on her boss, Rishi Sunak.
Labour are now saying the question of whether she should be sacked is one for the PM – and therefore the focus is on what her actions – and his lack of reaction so far – says about his leadership and moral character.
The party has put out a new social media attack ad, branding Mr Sunak as spineless.
Sir Keir claims “he’s got a home secretary who’s out of control and he’s too weak to do anything about it”.
There’s long been debate in Westminster about why Mr Sunak appointed Ms Braverman as home secretary- given the clash between his supposedly more pragmatic approach and her sometimes controversial right wing views.
Clearly, she’s been politically helpful in shoring up his support for that side of their party, as well as providing political cover for the kind of arguments, particularly over migration, some find unpalatable.
Many voters agree with her forthright style and among Tory members she’s the fifth most popular cabinet member.
But it’s not the first time her comments have landed the government into hot water.
Just last week, the row was about her claim homeless people in tents were making a “lifestyle choice”, not to mention her previous description of migrants as an “invasion” being criticised in an extraordinary intervention from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
But this time has she finally gone too far? Labour clearly believe so.
And with the prime minister continuing to stand by her, dividing the upper echelons of the Tory party – it puts the opposition back on the front foot, attacking the government on something they all agree on.