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by Adam Payne
13 November 2023
Humza Yousaf calls for general election as Suella Braverman sacked as home secretary

Former home secretary Suella Braverman

Humza Yousaf calls for general election as Suella Braverman sacked as home secretary

First Minister Humza Yousaf has called for a general election after Rishi Sunak sacked Suella Braverman as Home Secretary, as the start of a major Cabinet reshuffle.

The prime minister asked Braverman to leave his government on Monday morning and she accepted.

James Cleverly, formerly the foreign secretary, has been appointed as her successor.

And former prime minister David Cameron is to re-enter frontline politics as foreign secretary.

Sunak had been under pressure to remove Braverman after she published an op ed in The Times newspaper without 10 Downing Street's approval.

She also prompted fury among swathes of Conservative MPs by claiming that homelessness was a "lifestyle choice".

More changes are expected to be announced imminently, with UK Health Secretary Steve Barclay and Environment Secretary Therese Coffey thought to be at risk of losing their jobs. 

Braverman's sacking folllows a failure to get sign off on an article accusing the police of bias in the policing of pro-Palestinian protest marches. It also comes ahead of a Supreme Court ruling on the government's controversial plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, which government insiders are not confident about. 

PoliticsHome reported last week that Sunak's patience with Braverman was wearing thin after she a large number of Conservative MPs complained about her beahviour.

Responding to the news, Yousaf posted on the X, formerly known as Twitter, said: "Never has someone been so unfit for public office as Suella Braverman. At a time when we need those in government to bring communities together, she revelled in fanning the flames of division. The Tories are out of ideas and out of time, there should be a general election now."

His call was echoed by Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey, who said: "Suella Braverman was never fit to be home secretary. Rishi Sunak knew this, and he still appointed her.

"It was the prime minister's sheer cowardice that kept her in the job even for this long.

"They need to put us all out of our misery and call a general election now."

Anas Sarwar, leader of Scottish Labour also pressed Sunak to trigger a vote, saying it is "good that Suella is gone, but we need to get rid of the most incompetent, divisive, right-wing conspiracy theorist ridden Tory government in our country’s history".

He went on: "We need a general election now."

Braverman was originally appointed as home secretary under Liz Truss in September 2022, but resigned just over a month later because she breached the ministerial code by sharing an official document from her personal email address with a parliamentary colleague.

She was then reappointed to the senior cabinet position by Sunak when he became prime minister in October 2022.

In the year since, she has been subject to a number of other controversies relating to her conduct: In May 2023, it was revealed that she had been caught speeding by police and had asked civil servants to arrange a private one-to-one driving awareness course to avoid having to do so publicly.

Her comments as home secretary have stoked multiple rows, including her assertion that multiculturalism had "failed" in a speech in the US in September this year.

Braverman's rhetoric around the treatment of transgender people has also been consistently criticised by transgender rights activists.

In her first statement since leaving office, she said: "It has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve as home secretary.

"I will have more to say in due course."

As the reshuffle is underway, Nick Gibb has announced his resignation as schools minister, stating that he will be taking up a new diplomatic role after the next general election.

In his resignation letter, he said that the government had faced with a multitude of challenges, ranging from Brexit and Covid-19 to war in Ukraine and the Middle East. 

"I remain an optimist and I believe that the answers to these challenges will be found by thinkers and politicians of the centre-right, but I worry that growing cynicism and hostility to those who stand for election and hold office is damaging our ability to come together to solve problems," he wrote.

Neil O'Brien has also resigned as a health minister, posting on X that he wanted to return to the backbenches in order to focus on his constituency work and spend more time with his two small children. 

More follows...

Additional reporting by Kirsteen Paterson

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