Suella Braverman, who has been removed as UK’s home secretary, often remained in the headlines due to her controversial statements, particularly against refugees and ethnic minorities.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday sacked Braverman from the cabinet in a stunning cabinet reshuffle after she was blamed for encouraging tensions and racial hate over Armistice Day protests and saying London police favoured left-wing pro-Palestine protesters.
But the now-deposed security czar is no stranger to controversy in her time in office.
Braverman resigned from the same job while Liz Truss was prime minister before being brought back into government a week later by Rishi Sunak, according to BBC.
Key controversial statements of Braverman
In April this year, the former UK home secretary said that British-Pakistani men “hold cultural values at odds with British values”.
In an interview with Sky News, Braverman also alleged British-Pakistani men worked in child abuse rings or networks that targeted “vulnerable white English girls”.
A British Home Office report on group-based child sexual abuse published in 2020 pointed out that research on offender ethnicity is limited, and tends to rely on poor-quality data.
However, it did highlight studies that show white men as being the majority of offenders, in comparison with Asian or Black men.
The report’s findings were pointed out to Braverman during the interview, but she went on to say that British Pakistani men “see women in a demeaned and illegitimate way and who pursue an outdated and frankly heinous approach in terms of the way they behave”.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office and the Pakistani diaspora in the UK slammed her “discriminatory and xenophobic” comments.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch condemned Braverman’s remarks which, she said, painted a “highly misleading picture signalling the intent to target and treat British Pakistanis differently”.
“I would love to have a front page of the Telegraph with a plane taking off to Rwanda, that’s my dream, it’s my obsession.”
This was said at a fringe event at last year’s Conservative Party conference, shortly after she had been appointed as home secretary by Liz Truss. She was referring to the government’s asylum plan, to take asylum seekers who have crossed the Channel to the UK on a one-way ticket to Rwanda where they could claim asylum instead, according to BBC.
Braverman faced criticism from refugee groups and others for trivialising the plight of people in need.
One of Braverman’s first tasks as home secretary was to pilot through Parliament a plan to restrict the right to protest in order to stop highly disruptive stunts by groups, including Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil – such as motorway occupations.
She accused the opposition of being in league with eco-protesters because a previous version of the measures had failed to win enough support.
“I am afraid that it is the Labour Party, the Lib Dems, the coalition of chaos, the Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokerati and, dare I say, the anti-growth coalition that we have to thank for the disruption we are seeing on our roads today.”
“I have made a mistake; I accept responsibility: I resign”
19 October 2022: The very next day Braverman sensationally quit as home secretary, after confessing to a serious blunder.
She had sent a confidential and sensitive government email to her own Gmail account and then forwarded it to her confidante and Tory backbencher, John Hayes.
However, the real story here was the timing. The incident had happened some time earlier – and her resignation came as Liz Truss was on the precipice and her government in turmoil.
In her resignation letter, Braverman accused the embattled PM of breaking key pledges. The next day, Liz Truss resigned as prime minister. Less than a week later, Mrs Braverman’s serious ministerial error was forgiven by the new prime minister, Rishi Sunak – and she was back in the same job.
“The British people deserve to know which party is serious about stopping the invasion on our southern coast.”
There had been months of rising political tension over small boat crossings – and at the end of October 2022, a man firebombed the government’s arrivals centre for the migrants in Dover’s docks. Separately, independent inspectors warned conditions were “wretched” at a migrant reception camp.
Braverman came out fighting in the Commons, but days later, she was confronted in her constituency by 83-year-old Holocaust survivor Joan Salter.
“When I hear you using words against refugees like ‘swarms’ and an ‘invasion’,” she said, “I am reminded of the language used to dehumanise and justify the murder of my family and millions of others.”