It seems the last straw for Suella Braverman may have been a ‘golliwog’ doll.
The Home Secretary has been reviled by people on all sides – including her own – after she criticised police for removing the racially-discriminatory dolls from an Essex pub after the landlord sent online messages, apparently joking about Mississippi lynchings alongside an image of them.
From her own party, several people have put their heads over the parapet to criticise, with a large proportion suggesting it was a deliberate attempt to appeal to Conservative party members in case the Tories lose the next election and hold another leadership contest.
Let’s count her Tory critics. Here’s one:
A former senior minister from Boris Johnson’s government told the Guardian they believed Braverman was a “real racist bigot”.
The person said “the country is not as grotesque as she makes it out to be”, warning that the “Conservative reputation on discrimination has dropped to a new low” under her watch – “which also gives the country a bad name”.
“Suella’s comments pander to the unpleasant base instinct of a small section of the British population,” the former minister said.
“She’s not stupid, she believes she has a licence to say these things because she’s not white. But all her language does is exacerbate hatred.”
Another senior Tory said: “The politics of this leadership plan stink.”
Here’s Tobias Ellwood, who actually had the guts to allow himself to be named:
“These comments – arguably designed to appeal to a specific political cohort – do not sit well with the new, pragmatic and cooperative approach which the prime minister is now injecting into Number 10 and is seeing us improve in the polls.”
And here’s Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a former Tory chair, who has long campaigned against racism in her own party:
“Whether this consistent use of racist rhetoric is strategy or incompetence… doesn’t matter. Both show she is not fit to hold high office.”
Earlier this week, Warsi told LBC: “I think the prime minister has to get a really strong message that this kind of rhetoric, whether it’s on small boats, whether it’s the stuff she was saying on the weekend which is not based on evidence, not nuanced, not kind of explanatory in any way, it has got to stop.
“And you know, again today, we’ve woken up to a story where she’s having a go at the police for removing golliwog dolls from a pub.”
Will Rishi Sunak act to silence or remove this liability? Or is he “insecure in his own ability”, as one of the Tories above suggested?
All we know is that this situation can’t go on. Sunak has to do something. But what?
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