Rishi Sunak ditches Suella Braverman’s ban on tents for the homeless as right-wing New Conservatives group ramps up revolt against PM’s ‘centrist’ reset
Rishi Sunak has killed off Suella Braverman’s proposed crackdown on homeless people sleeping in tents after sacking her as home secretary.
Downing Street confirmed it has shelved plans to fine charities who hand out tents to rough sleepers, as well as ban people from sleeping in tents in towns and cities.
Mr Sunak’s decision to fire Mrs Braverman as home secretary seems to have been prompted, in part, by the controversy over her hardline approach to rough sleeping.
She provoked outrage when she claimed many people living on the streets were doing so as a ‘lifestyle choice’.
But Mrs Braverman’s ousting from Cabinet as part of a dramatic reshuffle – which came after another row over her stance on pro-Palestinian protests – has infuriated the Tory Right.
One group of her supporters – known as the New Conservatives – are poised to make a fierce intervention against what they view as the Prime Minister’s ‘centrist’ shift.
Rishi Sunak has killed off Suella Braverman ‘s proposed crackdown on homeless people sleeping in tents after sacking her as home secretary
Mr Sunak’s decision to fire Mrs Braverman from the Home Office seems to have been prompted, in part, by the controversy over her hardline approach to rough sleeping
Mrs Braverman provoked outrage when she claimed many people living on the streets were doing so as a ‘lifestyle choice’
Mr Sunak’s shake-up of ministerial jobs included the return of David Cameron as Foreign Secretary, along with a peerage for the ex-premier.
There were also promotions for some of the ex-PM’s former aides from when he was in No10.
Lord Cameron is said to have been first approached by Mr Sunak about ending his seven-year spell in the political wilderness in a secret meeting early last week.
This preceded the row prompted by Mrs Braverman’s clash with police over pro-Palestinian protests, and so suggests the PM’s primary motivation for sacking her was her intervention about rough sleeping.
She had insisted the Government could not ‘allow our streets to be taken over by rows of tents occupied by people, many of them from abroad, living on the streets as a lifestyle choice’.
Mrs Braverman claimed, without action, British cities were at risk of ending up like San Francisco and Los Angeles where, she said, ‘weak policies have led to an explosion of crime, drug taking, and squalor’.
‘What I want to stop, and what the law abiding majority wants us to stop, is those who cause nuisance and distress to other people by pitching tents in public spaces, aggressively begging, stealing, taking drugs, littering, and blighting our communities,’ she added.
It was reported that Mrs Braverman had pitched the inclusion of tough new laws as part of the new Criminal Justice Bill, which was unveiled as part of the King’s Speech last week.
This included a new civil penalty for charities to stop them giving out tents to homeless people for free, as well as a ban on tents in urban areas – except on people’s own land.
But – amid reports over a Cabinet rift over Mrs Braverman’s proposals – no details of fresh efforts to combat rough sleeping appeared as part of the Government’s new legislative agenda.
And Downing Street this morning confirmed no measures on rough sleeping will be included in the new Criminal Justice Bill when it is introduced to the House of Commons today.
The PM’s official spokesman said: ‘It’s not going to be introduced in the Criminal Justice Bill. I’m not aware of any plans for its introduction elsewhere.’
Mr Sunak’s shake-up of ministerial jobs included the dramatic return of David Cameron as Foreign Secretary, along with a peerage for the ex-premier
The New Conservatives – a pressure group on the Tory Right – are led by Miriam Cates and Danny Kruger
Mr Sunak has already seen one Tory MP, former education minister Dame Andrea Jenkyns, submit a no confidence letter in his leadership in the wake of his reshuffle and sacking of Mrs Braverman.
No10 will also be braced for further blowback from Conservative backbenchers on the Tory Right.
The New Conservatives group gathered in Westminster last night following the reshuffle, as they considered their response to Mr Sunak’s action.
Tory Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson was among those at the meeting, while other attendees included Sir Simon Clarke, Sir John Hayes and Danny Kruger.
One member of the New Conservatives said the group was ‘far from pleased’.
Between 10 to 12 MPs were believed to be in the parliamentary committee room, with others said to have logged in to the meeting via Zoom.
The New Conservatives are made up of MPs mainly elected after the Brexit vote in 2016.
The group’s website states they ‘stand for the realignment of British politics: a new era in which Westminster respects the views, values and interests of the British people’.
Their policy goals include the establishment of a new British framework for rights and equalities laws to replace European-inspired legislation.
They also want tax cuts, a reduction in immigration, and the banning of ‘gender ideology in schools’.
The group are led by Miriam Cates, Mr Kruger and Sir John – who is a close ally of Mrs Braverman.
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