Suella Braverman must go

My first reaction – several years ago – to one of Suella Braverman’s pronouncements was one of exasperation and incredulity. But it was accompanied by a conviction that not even right wing Tories were going to support her extreme views. I was, of course, wrong.

She not only proposes cruel treatment for vulnerable, underprivileged and desperate people who are either citizens or who want to be one, but she is now doing so from one of the most powerful positions in Government. She wants rough sleepers to die in the cold (it is apparently a lifestyle choice), she wants to imprison people escaping war in unsafe conditions, or alternatively to deport them to a country where they have absolutely no connections, she wants to prevent legal forms of protest that we so value in a democracy, she wants us all to lose the protection of the European Court of Rights, and so it goes on and on …

And now some think she is deliberately courting trouble by posting a highly controversial article in the Times, attacking the Met Police, without getting it signed-off by No. 10. Whatever her motivation, her Cabinet position is now at risk, but that could leave her free to challenge the leadership.

Ed Davey has come out with some very strong words about her:

Suella Braverman is not fit to hold the office of Home Secretary. She divides communities with reckless abandon, playing a personal political game with no care for the consequences suffered by the people she is supposed to protect.

She is the most dangerous and divisive Home Secretary of modern times. This country will be safer without her in post.

This is a situation of the Prime Minister’s own making. He appointed her knowing she had previously broken the Ministerial Code yet he was too scared to stand up to her.

What more will it take for the Prime Minister to do the right thing? It is time for us to move past her pathetic failings and for her to go. Rishi Sunak needs to find his backbone and sack her.

Other Lib Dems have added their thoughts.

Here is Alistair Carmichael in the Commons.

Here is Layla Moran on BBC Newsnight.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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  • Thankfully she will be going in the next 72 hours. We should already be moving on.
    Of far more importance to me is that the Recall Petition in Wellingborough which opened today.
    I hope to God we will fight the by election in January in a wholesome and real manner, not just a hopeless paper type candidate. I for one have had enough of standing back for someone else to achieve.

  • Nonconformistradical 9th Nov '23 - 10:22pm

    We don’t have any councillors in Wellingborough constituency – looks like another black hole.

  • Graham Jeffs 10th Nov '23 - 9:32am

    There was a time when we would encourage activist PPCs to head up ‘moribund’ constituencies and bring them back to life. Now we seem to leave it to “Others”.

    Basically, there seems to be no organisational strategy. As I have observed before, building an organisation on disparate District parties is not a recipe for constituency success. We need to be organised on a constituency party basis.

    There used to be those who did not even believe the Liberals should fight on a ‘broad front’. It seems these people have gained the upper hand again.

    No wonder our national poll ratings are not better! We son’t even try to exist.

  • Nonconformistradical 10th Nov '23 - 9:57am

    @Graham Jeff

    Fighting a whole moribund constituency from scratch isn’t practicable. And until our electoral system is reformed we will always have constituency and local authority boundaries with boundaries which don’t tie up.

    How about your thoughts on how to deal with this – in the current situation, not an idealised futur please…

  • Graham Jeffs 10th Nov '23 - 10:17am

    Far from discussing an idealised future, I am pointing out that our organisational strategy as a party, between GEs, is faulty.

    An active PPC can usually garner and build a Constituency organisation in a way that Districts Parties choose not to. What we do nowadays is sit on our hands whining that little is happening whilst simultaneously making it unbelievably difficult to achieve anything if there are disinterested or weak District parties. Our organisation is the wrong way up!

    It follows that for a Constituency organisation to thrive it in turn needs to invest time and effort in building the District Parties that are within its boundaries. All too often it simply doesn’t work the other way around.

  • Robin Stafford 10th Nov '23 - 11:27am
  • Martin Gray 10th Nov '23 - 1:01pm

    Whatever we may think of Braverman – let’s not be that naive to realise that what she says resonates with a significant number of voters – anybody that’s ever canvassed knows that …

  • Barry Lofty 10th Nov '23 - 1:11pm

    No doubt there are many voters who share Braverman,s views, that is what’s so deeply worrying and depressing about the direction of our country and many others around the world, you only have to witness the mess and anguish caused by like minded Tory politicians over recent years!

  • Mick Taylor 10th Nov '23 - 3:18pm

    Nonconformist radical has a short memory. In the past most by-elections were hopeless, but we fought them with the objective of finding the Liberals and creating an organisation that could, over time, start to build the seat into a hopefully one.
    Then along came micromanaged targeting and all non target seats were abandoned and the LibDems in those seats were browbeaten into helping elsewhere. The result is whole swathes of derelict seats where we can’t even begin to create a winning organisation and worse, we don’t even try. If we want to have any hope of getting into power -other than through another coalition, not my favourite option – then we have to find a way of revitalising these derelict seats. I don’t know what that way is, but someone needs to find it. If not at a by-election, then when?
    Martin Gray, Barry Lofty et al. If the Liberal Democrats don’t exist to challenge racism and bigotry then we might as well pack our tents and give up. Just because some people believe Suella Braverman’s nonsense doesn’t mean we don’t have to speak up loudly against it.
    I predict that Braverman will stay in post. Sunak has nothing to gain by sacking her. She says what others in the cabinet are too frit to say. She’s a good cover for Sunak’s culture wars and he’s happy for her to be so.

  • Nonconformistradical 12th Nov '23 - 8:51am

    @Mick Taylor
    “Nonconformist radical has a short memory. In the past most by-elections were hopeless, but we fought them with the objective of finding the Liberals and creating an organisation that could, over time, start to build the seat into a hopefully one.”
    No I don’t have a short memory.

    My concern about what Graham Jeffs is saying relates to having to start with an active PPC. A moribund local party isn’t going to attract one of those. But such a local party does need help from outside – in identifying where on their patch to start and then in actually getting started with the leaflets and door knocking.

  • Graham Jeffs 12th Nov '23 - 9:09am

    Sorry, our wider organisation and strategy is fatally flawed. It doesn’t work and it inhibits activists where there are all ready few in number.

    When I talk about moribund constituencies I mean moribund constituencies not moribund local parties! The latter are unlikely to rectify the former. But there could be a small core of people throughout such a constituency who, if working together, can start to turn the tide. But they need unobstructed access to – for example – membership data on a constituency basis. And from within that dedicated core there may be a suitable PPC – that’s surely better than waiting for an imposed candidate at the next GE with possibly little local involvement to their credit.

  • Nonconformistradical 12th Nov '23 - 10:26am

    @Graham Jeffs
    Boundary changes which affect the overall geography of a constituency take place very much more often than those affecting the overall geography of a local authority.

    Are you proposing to reoganise local parties every time there is a set of parliamentary boundary changes?

  • Graham Jeffs 12th Nov '23 - 11:09am

    “Reorganise” . It’s not exactly rocket science providing membership attachés to constituency parties!

  • We seem to fightling by-elections in ways that only focus on opposition to the Conservative Government or the Labour party. Very little is done in these campaigns to show people what we stand for and what vision (if any?) we have for the future of the UK. That means, win or lose, we do not gain the sustainable activists we desperately need for the future of our party in those constituencies. I am disturbed to learn very recently of leading activists of our party who have now lost their enthusiasm for the party because of this. Not only that, if we concentrate only on tactics for winning without the broader vision and longterm purpose, are we not playing our part in the demeaning of society and its politics ?

  • Alex Macfie 12th Nov '23 - 1:08pm

    Martin Gray: “what [Cruella] says resonates with a significant number of voters” but those voters are most unlikely to consider Lib Dems.

  • Graham Jeffs 12th Nov '23 - 2:45pm

    Nigel Jones – I absolutely agree.

    We are creating the perfect storm for ourselves – lack of definition, negative campaigning, obstructive party structures in terms of organisation. What could possibly go wrong?

  • Katharine Pindar 12th Nov '23 - 3:46pm

    Nigel Jones. I also totally agree, Nigel. I want our leadership to be stressing our ‘long-term purpose and broader vision’, together with constantly speaking out on our most radical and distinctive policies. I think that should mean both in speeches to outside bodies of weight, but also in sound-bites that social media can take up, such as our colleague Michael BG’s suggestions of ‘Fix the NHS’ and ‘End poverty’ – words we can substantiate with our policies when asked.
    I’ve also been interested in the discussion of what can be done in derelict constituency parties. I’ve been in one. Boundary changes have actually brought new hope, because ours has become joined up with an area with a smattering of councillors, and from them have emerged PPCs who are now leading and inspiring local action. I suppose less fortunate derelict areas must start with finding the first great councillor!

  • Nonconformistradical 12th Nov '23 - 7:35pm

    “I suppose less fortunate derelict areas must start with finding the first great councillor!”

    You have to start somewhere – but it won’t be with a whole cosntituency.

  • D J SHEPPARD 14th Nov '23 - 5:37pm

    The Liberal Democrats really must use Parliamentary Bye elections in derelict areas to kick start local parties. Its an ideal time, the One time an area aided by the national party can put out some material and appeal for volunteers, engage and encourage the local membership and for the life of me I cant quite work out why this doesn’t happen? Or if it does lets see some reports back to conference on what’s being achieved please?

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