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UK PM Sunak sacks interior minister Suella Braverman over comments on pro-Palestine protests

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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sacked his interior minister Suella Braverman on Monday after her criticism of the police’s handling of a pro-Palestinian march divided his party and threatened his authority.

Under fire from opposition lawmakers and members of the governing Conservative Party to eject Braverman, Sunak seemed to have brought forward a long-planned reshuffle to bring in allies and remove ministers he felt were not performing.

Following her dismissal, Braverman said “it has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve as home secretary”.

“I will have more to say in due course,” she added.

Last week, Braverman defied Sunak by publishing an article accusing the police of adopting “double standards” in its treatment of protests — an argument opposition Labour said inflamed tensions at a pro-Palestinian demonstration on Saturday.

Suella Braverman with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as he hosts a policing roundtable at 10 Downing Street, London, Britain October 12, 2023.—Reuters/file

Then more than 140 people were arrested after far-right counter protesters skirmished with police, who tried to keep them away from the 300,000 pro-Palestinian marchers.

Sunak is expected to carry out a wider number of changes in his cabinet, bringing in allies and removing some ministers who his Downing Street office say have not been performing as well as he wanted in their departments.

Meanwhile, former British leader David Cameron was named as the country’s new Foreign Secretary, in a surprise appointment made by Sunak.

David Cameron, 57, served as British prime minister from 2010 to 2016, resigning after the outcome of the Brexit referendum, when Britain voted to leave the European Union.

His unexpected return to the front line of British politics comes after he spent the last seven years writing his memoirs and involving himself in business, including Greensill Capital, a finance firm which later collapsed.

Greensill’s demise fuelled questions about the extent to which former leaders can use their status to influence government policy after Cameron repeatedly contacted senior ministers in 2020 to lobby for the firm.

Sunak’s office said on Monday that King Charles had approved giving Cameron a seat in Britain’s upper chamber, the House of Lords, allowing him to return to government as a minister despite no longer being an elected member of parliament.

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