British leader Rishi Sunak on Monday sacked controversial interior minister Suella Braverman, as he reshuffles his top team ahead of a general election expected next year.
Sunak had come under growing pressure to axe Braverman, an outspoken right-winger, after critics accused her of heightening tensions during weeks of contentious pro-Palestinian demonstrations and counter-protests in Britain.
It was not immediately clear who will replace Braverman, who was appointed to the post when Sunak became prime minister just over a year ago.
Following her dismissal, Braverman said “it has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve as home secretary”.
“I will have more to say in due course,” she added.
The firing comes as the ruling Conservatives confirmed a major reshuffle of Sunak’s top ministers was underway — his first since becoming the country’s leader on October 25, 2022.
“Here we go,” the party said on X, formerly Twitter.
“Today @RishiSunak strengthens his team in government to deliver long-term decisions for a brighter future. Stay tuned for the latest.”
The changes, set to be announced through the morning, are expected to reward loyalists and younger emerging MPs, after nearly 14 years in power takes its toll on the Tories’ popularity.
The party has trailed the main Labour opposition by double-digit margins throughout Sunak’s time in power, and is widely tipped to lose the next election due next year.
Braverman had stoked controversy throughout her tenure, taking a hardline stance on immigration in particular and regularly wading into so-called culture wars issues which are seen as dividing the electorate.
The right-winger attacked her critics as liberal “tofu-eating wokerati” while saying shortly after she was appointed that sending asylum seekers to Rwanda was her “dream” and “obsession”.
But her position became increasingly untenable after she last week wrote an explosive newspaper article, apparently without Sunak’s approval, accusing police of bias towards left-wing causes.
It was blamed for stoking tensions ahead of a weekend of protests over Israel’s war in Gaza, which coincided with Armistice Day events, and prompted calls for her to be sacked.