Sunak “Prime Minister in name only” if Braverman stays – Carmichael

9 Nov 2023

Orkney and Shetland MP and Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael, has today warned that if Rishi Sunak cannot sack Suella Braverman as Home Secretary he will be “Prime Minister in name only”. Mr Carmichael made the comments following an inflammatory article by the Home Secretary which accused the police of political bias.

Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:

“On this Home Secretary’s watch, every day 6,000 crimes across England and Wales go unsolved, so does she trust the police to do their job or not? If the purpose of her article was to say that she knows better than the commissioner of the Metropolitan police, she should say so—and she should say so here in this Chamber. If not, what possible motive could she have for seeking to undermine public confidence in the police in this way?

Responding for the government, policing minister Chris Philp MP said:

“We do have confidence in the police, but it is perfectly reasonable to scrutinise the police and hold them to account for their actions, as police and crime commissioners do every day, and as Members of this House do every day as well. In terms of confidence in policing more widely, according to the crime survey for England and Wales, on a like-for-like basis crime is now 54% lower than it was under the last Labour Government.”

Reacting after the exchange and following revelations that Downing Street had not approved the Home Secretary’s article before publication, Mr Carmichael said:

“The Home Secretary's desire to stoke divisions and ramp up tensions in this way is irresponsible and dangerous. Instead of working with the police, she is doing everything in her power to make their already challenging jobs harder.

“If ministers can openly defy the Prime Minister then his authority disintegrates and collective responsibility dissolves. If Rishi Sunak cannot sack Braverman today then he will be Prime Minister in name only – and perhaps not even that for much longer.”