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Suella Braverman accuses Met of ‘double standards’ over pro-Palestinian protests | Politics News

Suella Braverman has accused the police of “double standards” in the way they handle protests – after Rishi Sunak conceded that a pro-Palestinian march on Armistice Day will go ahead. The home secretary has sharply criticised the Metropolitan Police in an article for The Times newspaper – saying there is “a perception that senior police officers play favourites when it comes to protesters”. It comes after Mr Sunak described Saturday’s planned march in London as “disrespectful”.

The prime minister met the chief of the Metropolitan Police on Wednesday afternoon – and had vowed to hold Sir Mark Rowley “accountable” for his decision to greenlight the demonstration. Sir Mark had resisted calls to try and block a march taking place – and said that, after looking at intelligence, the legal threshold for a ban had not been met.

Ms Braverman once again described pro-Palestinian protesters as “hate marchers” – writing that it is “a phrase I do not resile from”. That is despite numerous government ministers saying they would not use such language.

In words seeming to pile pressure onto Sir Mark Rowley, she concluded: “This weekend the public will expect to see an assertive and proactive approach to any displays of hate, breaches of conditions and general disorder.”

In response to Ms Braverman’s article, Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, described her as “out of control”. She wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Her article tonight is a highly irresponsible, dangerous attempt to undermine respect for police at a sensitive time, to rip up operational independence and to inflame community tensions.”

And London Mayor Sadiq Khan posted: “The Home Sec’s article in The Times is inaccurate, inflammatory & irresponsible.”

In a statement following a meeting with Met Police chief Sir Mark Rowley, the prime minister conceded that Saturday’s protest is not just disrespectful but offends heartfelt gratitude to the memory of those who gave so much so that we may live in freedom and peace today. He added: “It’s welcome that the police have confirmed that the march will be away from the Cenotaph and they will ensure that the timings do not conflict with any remembrance events.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer criticized Mr Sunak for “picking a fight” with the police, and Downing Street denied seeking to put pressure on the Met, which is operationally independent. The Met has said its officers were preparing for remembrance events over the weekend and “we will do everything in our power to ensure that people who want to mark the occasion can do so safely and without disruption.” Organisers of this Saturday’s protest say it will be “well away” from the Cenotaph – going from Hyde Park, around a mile from the war memorial in Whitehall, to the US embassy – and won’t start until after the 11am silence.