• Tuesday, July 16, 2024

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Braverman loses key supporter for singling out British Pakistani men

In April, Braverman reportedly said that majority of child sexual abusers are ‘groups of men, almost all British Pakistanis’

Home Secretary Suella Braverman arrives for a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street on June 20, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

AN influential Tory minister has withdrawn support for home secretary Suella Braverman over her comments about British-Pakistani men, reported The Guardian.

A close associate of Tory MP and Northern Ireland minister, Steve Baker, who backed Braverman when she stood to succeed Boris Johnson as party leader, said that he vehemently disagreed with the home secretary’s stance.

The report further stated that Braverman’s firm stance on culture war matters might hinder her prospects of becoming Tory leader.

In April, in a series of television interviews ahead of the launch of a new Grooming Gangs Taskforce, Braverman reportedly said that majority of child sexual abusers are ‘groups of men, almost all British-Pakistanis’.

Following her comments, a group of British-Pakistanis has written an open letter to the prime minister Rishi Sunak, requesting him to clarify the comments.

Also, Pakistan reacted strongly to the comments terming them as “racist” “discriminatory” and “xenophobic”.

Sayeeda Warsi, a Tory peer and former party chair, called on Sunak to distance Tories from what he called Braverman’s ‘racist rhetoric’.

According to The Guardian report, Baker has made the decision not to support Braverman again due to significant apprehensions regarding her approach towards child sexual abusers.

“If she had said this is a problem predominantly carried out by white men in their own homes but that in some areas it was carried out by Pakistani men and covered up for political reasons that would have been fine,” an ally of Baker told the newspaper.

“But she has heaped shame upon innocent men. It is not that she is stupid but that she is unwise.”

The concerns raised by Baker regarding Braverman’s rhetoric and approach reflect broader worries among other Tory MPs regarding the home secretary’s adoption of culture war issues, which some consider as a deliberate and divisive strategy, the report added.

In May, a joint letter signed by over 50 researchers and organisations engaged in child protection, including the NSPCC and Victim Support, raised concerns about the detrimental impact of ‘inaccurate or divisive claims’ regarding child sexual abusers.

It said that such claims not only undermined efforts to combat the crime but also potentially compromised the safety of children.

The unprecedented letter highlighted the urgent need for responsible and evidence-based discussions on the issue.

Interestingly, the criticism has not prompted Braverman to rein in her language.

In May, during her address at the National Conservatism conference in Westminster, Braverman criticised the influence of ‘experts and elites’, and expressed her disapproval of what she referred to as the divisive politics of identity.

“The ethnicity of grooming gang perpetrators is the sort of fact that has become unfashionable in some quarters. Much like the fact that 100 percent of women do not have a penis. It is absurd that we find ourselves in a situation where this a remotely controversial statement,” she is reported to have said.

A Home Office spokesperson has said that Braverman will not shy away from telling hard truths, particularly when it comes to child sexual abusers in Britain’s towns.

“As the home secretary has said, the vast majority of British-Pakistanis are law-abiding, upstanding citizens but independent reports were unequivocal that in towns like Rochdale, Rotherham and Telford cultural sensitivities have meant thousands of young girls were abused under the noses of councils and police,” the spokesperson told The Guardian.

“That’s why we have announced a raft of measures, including a new police taskforce and mandatory reporting, to ensure this horrific scandal can never happen again, and bring members of grooming gangs to justice for the victims.”

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