Rishi Sunak is under pressure to sack Suella Braverman after she defied Downing Street by publishing an article accusing police of bias over protests in support of Palestine.
Her claim that there is a perception some senior officers “play favourites”, only the latest inflammatory comment by the Home Secretary in recent days, has prompted frustration and unease among Conservative MPs and sparked calls for the Prime Minister to sack her after she failed to get Number 10 to sign off the Times piece.
Downing Street was still investigating on Thursday night the “details” about how the article, which also contained a widely-criticised comparison between “pro-Palestinian mobs” and marches in Northern Ireland, was still sent for publication.
Mr Sunak is facing opposition calls to remove the Home Secretary, who claimed the protesters are “largely ignored” by officers “even when clearly breaking the law”.
It is understood that the article was submitted to Downing Street, but did not get signed off as significant alterations were requested. The piece was published nonetheless.
Labour mocked the Prime Minister as “spineless” and argued that the move by Mrs Braverman amounts to a breach of the ministerial code.
It states that “all major interviews and media appearances, both print and broadcast, should also be agreed with the No 10 Press Office”.
Even some Conservative MPs believe that Mrs Braverman, never shy about causing controversy, has this time overstepped the mark.
Senior Tory Sir Bob Neill conceded that her position was “untenable”.
The Justice Committee Chair told LBC: “I think she’s gone over the line.
A Conservative former Cabinet minister also told PA news agency that Mr Sunak should consider dismissing her if he cannot resolve the situation as the row “undermines” the Tory party.
It remains to be seen if the Prime Minister will move against Mrs Braverman, who he appointed to the high-level post when he took over from Liz Truss late last year.
Former chancellor George Osborne used his Political Currency podcast to claim that Mr Sunak has “come very close” to sacking Mrs Braverman in the past.
It has long been speculated that Mr Sunak will want to carry out a major ministerial reshuffle ahead of the upcoming general election, expected next year.
More immediately, the Supreme Court will next week rule whether Government plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda are lawful. There has been speculation that the Prime Minister may want to wait for that decision before embarking on any reshuffle.
The row comes with only a day to go until tens of thousands of people take to the streets for the pro-Palestinian march.
Mrs Braverman’s article had reflected her frustration with Metropolitan Police chief Sir Mark Rowley, who has resisted pressure from senior Tories to ban the demonstration in the capital.
Published: by Radio NewsHub