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UK: Suella Braverman says 'Islamists' now in control of Britain

Outcry as former Home Secretary cites pro-Palestine protests as proof that 'extremists' and 'antisemites' run the UK
Britain's former Home Secretary Suella Braverman joins pro-Israeli supporters as they gather for a demonstration in Trafalgar Square, London, 14 January 2024 (Henry Nicholls/AFP)

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman has sparked outrage after claiming that "Islamists" were now in control of the UK.

Writing in the Telegraph, Braverman claimed that politicians were "burying their heads in the sand" over the spread of "extremism" throughout the country's institutions.

She specifically referenced pro-Palestine demonstrations as proof, as well as claiming that university campuses were not safe for Jewish people

"The truth is that the Islamists, the extremists, and the antisemites are in charge now," she wrote.

"They have bullied the Labour Party, they have bullied our institutions, and now they have bullied our country into submission.”

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Her comments come in the wake of a row in parliament over a motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

On Wednesday, the Scottish National Party (SNP) put forward a motion that included condemnation of Israel for its "collective punishment" of the Palestinian people. 

Labour, the largest opposition party, then sought to table an amendment, which removed wording such as "collective punishment" and the "slaughter" of innocent civilians. 

During "opposition day debates", like on Wednesday, lawmakers usually vote on the main motion first, followed by any amendments.

However, Lindsay Hoyle, parliament's speaker, said he would break with precedent and allow a vote on Labour’s amendment before the SNP’s motion, despite receiving contradictory advice from officials.

The decision led to anger from the ruling Conservative Party and the SNP, who claimed that Hoyle had been strongarmed by Labour leader Keir Starmer, who reportedly claimed that MPs would come under threat from pro-Palestine demonstrators if he didn't allow the amendment.

In the Telegraph, Braverman accused Labour of "taking the Speaker hostage" with a "grubby backroom deal".

"The law has not changed, mass extremism parades itself proudly, campuses remain dangerous places for Jews, and Labour is still rotten to the core," she wrote.

'Stoking' racial and religious tensions

Braverman's article has provoked fierce criticism from politicians and Muslim community organisations, who accused her of peddling Islamophobia.

SNP leader Humza Yousaf, whose in-laws were trapped in Gaza before being evacuated in November, said that Braverman was "the worst of politicians".

Calling for a ceasefire is never hateful, it’s Suella Braverman who is stoking division
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"An individual who deliberately stokes the fires of racial and religious tensions for self-serving purposes, with no regard to the greater societal damage she is doing," he wrote.

"The very definition of a scorched earth policy. Shameful."

The Muslim Council of Britain, in a statement, accused Braverman herself of "extremism" over her remarks.

“On the front page of a national newspaper, a former Home Secretary has shamelessly peddled extremist tropes about so-called ‘Islamist’ takeovers," said Secretary-General Zara Mohammed.

"That this comes on the day we learn of a stark rise of Islamophobic hate crime with over 2000 cases in the last 4 months is no less shameful."

Braverman, a figurehead for the Conservatives' right wing, was sacked as home secretary in November shortly after facing criticism for comments in which she claimed the police "played favourites" with regards to political demonstrations.

Her comments were blamed in some quarters for inciting a far-right mob to descend on Whitehall on Armistice Day to confront pro-Palestine demonstrators.

Speaking to LBC on Friday, Braverman's successor James Cleverly said that she had been "expressing frustrations" that she'd felt while in the role, and said his government would be giving more powers to the police.

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