Defence minister throws Suella Braverman under the bus ahead of likely reshuffle

Suella Braverman’s claims of police bias not signed off by Downing Street

A senior minister appeared to throw the Home Secretary under a bus this morning, by claiming her words may have encouraged violent far-right thugs out onto the streets of London on Saturday.

James Heappey, the armed forces minister, said Ms Braverman’s claim that the Palestine protests are “hate marches” was not “entirely” responsible for the Tommy Robinson-led counter-march.

His words therefore implied that the Home Secretary was partly responsible for the thuggery next to the Cenotaph.

Mr Heappey told Times Radio: “I wouldn’t have used some of the words that the Home Secretary used in her article.

“But I also think that it would be incorrect to say that those protests, the counter-protests, were entirely a consequence of what she wrote.”

READ MORE: Braverman fighting for political life with Sunak poised to wield axe in hours

Mr Heappey added he was “disgusted” by the far right who “turned up spoiling for a fight”.

The senior minister’s words come ahead of an expected reshuffle from No. 10, one which Ms Braverman may not survive.

The Prime Minister faced growing calls to sack the home secretary over the weekend, following her unauthorised Times op-ed last week.

Mr Heappey’s boss, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, failed to say whether or not Ms Braverman will still be in her post come the end of this week.

Yesterday he merely said: “A week’s a long time in politics.”

A Government source told the Express: “We are not 100 percent sure but it is looking like a reshuffle [on Monday]”.

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The Downing Street “grid” – the map of what the Government is doing on each day of the week – has also been cleared for today, merely showing “No 10: Redacted”.

Another source said the day “allows for the Prime Minister to hold a reshuffle”.

It’s notable rumours are swirling around a reshuffle happening today, and not after Wednesday when the Supreme Court will rule on whether the Government’s plan to deport illegal migrants to Rwanda is legal.

A decision by the court in favour of the Government’s policy could strengthen Ms Braverman’s position, whereas it’s rumoured the Home Secretary could resign if they rule against her flagship policy, in order to campaign on the backbenches for a tougher anti-ECHR stance.

However a senior Tory MP told the Express that if Mr Sunak were to turn on Suella, “he’d essentially be turning on the centre-right of the party and a large proportion of Tory voters and members”.

They said: “That would be really bad so he needs to tie himself closely to her.”

A poll of readers saw 65 percent say she should not be sacked for her comments about the Palestine protests.

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