LONDON: Suella Braverman is a darling of Britain’s Conservative right for her frequent attacks on “woke” politics but she made one unsanctioned outburst too many for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Braverman, 43, was fired Monday as interior minister, days after accusing London’s Metropolitan Police, which she is partly responsible for, of bias in the way it treated pro-Palestinian marchers compared with other demonstrators.
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It was the latest non-government approved tirade from the right-wing firebrand, who was brought in by Sunak when he became prime minister last year to get a handle on law and order and migrant crossings of the Channel.
Although the numbers making journeys in small boats is down so far this year, her frequent rogue statements have proved another headache for Sunak, who is languishing badly in the polls ahead of an expected election next year.
Braverman has frequently hit the headlines over her inflammatory statements.
Earlier this year she claimed multi-culturalism in the UK had failed, despite her own background as the daughter of Indian-origin immigrants and Sunak being the UK’s first prime minister of colour.
More recently she floated the idea of banning homeless people from using tents, while claiming that homelessness was a “lifestyle choice” for some.
Her comments branding pro-Palestinian protests as “hate marches”, and highlighting a perceived lack of arrests for racially motivated crimes, put pressure on police at a politically sensitive moment.
She was criticised for undermining police independence after accusing officers of taking a softer approach to left-wing causes such as Black Lives Matter protests than anti-Covid lockdown demos.
Despite the controversy around Braverman, she remained one of the few ministers still popular with Conservative members, making any move by Sunak against her politically fraught.
Her sacking marks the end of her second stint as interior minister, having previously served in the ill-fated premiership of Liz Truss, which lasted only 49 days.
When leaving the first time, Braverman infamously attacked her government’s critics as “the Labour Party, it’s the Lib Dems, it’s the coalition of chaos, it’s the Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokerati...”
Before that, she served as attorney general - the government’s principal legal adviser - under ex-premier Boris Johnson, having worked as a lawyer before becoming an MP in 2015.
Finding a solution to the thorny political issue of irregular migration that the government has deemed illegal had been Braverman’s top priority during her times in office.
The government is currently embroiled in a legal battle to implement its plan to send failed asylum seekers to Rwanda. The Supreme Court is set to rule on the matter on Wednesday.
Braverman has said it was her “dream” and “obsession” to see the first planeload of migrants depart for Rwanda.
She has contrasted Channel migrants’ entry to her own parents’ experience, who came to the UK legally in the 1960s from Kenya and Mauritius.
Braverman is seen as harbouring ambitions for the top job, with her recent outbursts viewed as part of a pitch to Tory members who will choose their next leader - whenever a vacancy arises.
She was one of the first to declare a leadership bid following Johnson’s downfall in 2022, exploiting her credentials as an arch-Brexiteer and right-wing culture warrior.
She has praised the British Empire as a “force for good” and said that as Conservatives, “we are engaged in a battle against cultural Marxism”.
Anti-racism campaigners criticised her use of the cultural Marxism phrase, which is linked to the far-right, as anti-Semitic - an accusation she rejected.
Despite her popularity with grassroot Tories, her views were less popular among fellow Tory MPs, who eliminated her from the leadership contest at the third hurdle.
Braverman, who has two children, was born in Harrow, northwest London, in 1980.
She read law at the University of Cambridge, where she was president of the student Conservative association, and completed a master’s degree at Pantheon-Sorbonne University in Paris on an EU student exchange programme.
After several failed attempts to enter politics, Braverman was elected as the MP for Fareham, in southern England, in 2015.
She is a member of the Triratna Buddhist Community and took her oath of office on the Dhammapada, one of the best-known Buddhist scriptures.