Suella Braverman’s Most Controversial Moments as UK Home Secretary

Suella Braverman is no stranger to moments of controversy and polarization as a member of the Conservative government.

A hard-right, divisive politician, Ms. Braverman has now been fired from the home secretary’s position twice, once on Monday by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and once by his predecessor, Liz Truss.

The home secretary is responsible for law enforcement, immigration and national security, but Ms. Braverman’s hard-line stance on those issues has often stoked divisive cultural debates in Britain because of her inflammatory rhetoric.

Her staunch policies on immigration, including plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, have been denounced by rights groups, criticized by opposition politicians, and challenged in the country’s highest courts.

Here’s a look at some of Ms. Braverman’s most prominent disputes.

Ms. Braverman was first appointed home secretary by Ms. Truss — whose term as prime minister became the shortest in British history — but was fired just over a year ago for a security breach.

Using her personal email address, she sent a government document to another lawmaker who was not authorized to see it. Despite her dismissal, Ms. Braverman was again appointed home secretary six days later, on Mr. Sunak’s first day in office.

That decision was criticized not only by the opposition but by lawmakers on Parliament’s public administration and constitutional affairs committee, which later issued a report detailing how the “leaking of restricted material is worthy of significant sanction.” A “subsequent change in prime minister should not wipe the slate clean,” the report added.

Ms. Braverman is perhaps most famous for her determination to stop the small boats that cross the English Channel filled with migrants seeking asylum.

Last year, the government introduced a plan that would send people arriving in Britain by “illegal, dangerous or unnecessary methods” to Rwanda to have their asylum claims processed there. While the plan was first announced by Ms. Braverman’s predecessor, Priti Patel, Ms. Braverman has been an ardent supporter and put the policy front and center.

During the Conservative Party’s annual conference in 2022, she said that it was her “dream” to see a flight depart for Rwanda; after the Court of Appeal decided earlier this summer that such deportations could violate human rights, she vowed to do “whatever it takes” to see the policy put in place.

On Wednesday Britain’s Supreme Court is expected to make a final ruling on the legality of the plan.

The final straw came last week when Ms. Braverman published an opinion article criticizing London’s Metropolitan Police Service ahead of a pro-Palestinian protest in the city over the weekend. Since the start of the war in Israel and Gaza, pro-Palestinian marches have been held in London denouncing the attacks on Gaza.

Ms. Braverman had for weeks characterized these protests as “hate marches,” despite the fact that the demonstrations have been mostly peaceful. Both Mr. Sunak and Ms. Braverman initially urged the police to ban the Saturday demonstration, which coincided with planned Armistice Day events that were being held elsewhere in the city.

But then Ms. Braverman, who as home secretary oversees policing in Britain, went a step further later in the week. Her opinion article accused the police force of bias, and suggested they were taking a more lenient stance toward the pro-Palestinian marchers versus other demontrators. In doing so, she implicitly challenged the authority of both the police and Mr. Sunak, who had not been notified of her plans for the opinion article. She again called the demonstrators “hate marchers,” “Islamists” and “mobs.”

After the article was published, far-right groups called for supporters to come to London to, in their words, “defend” the Armistice Day events.

Critics of Ms. Braverman say her actions emboldened a mob that stormed the area around a monument to the war dead in central London on Saturday, where they clashed with police officers and dozens were arrested. By late Saturday, the police said that 126 people had been arrested, more than 80 of them related to the far-right group.

“The extreme violence from the right-wing protesters toward the police today was extraordinary and deeply concerning,” the police later said in a statement.

The main demonstration drew more than 300,000 people to the streets of London in the largest actions since the war between Israel and Hamas began, with a number of people saying they had decided to join for the first time after Ms. Braverman made her statements.

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