Following a number of comments made by the Home Secretary – including singling out British-Pakistani men over concerns about grooming gangs – a Tory former senior minister accused her of being a “real racist bigot”,
The anonymous ex-minister, who formed part of Boris Johnson’s government, told the Guardian they believe Ms Braverman’s comments “gives the country a bad name”, while the Conservative Party’s “reputation on discrimination has dropped to a new low”.
On April 2, the Home Secretary drew criticism when she singled out British Pakistani men as a major source of concern, when speaking about Government measures to tackle grooming gangs.
Ms Braverman repeatedly alluded to cases including in Rotherham and Rochdale that involved groups of men of mainly Pakistani ethnicity.
She described a “predominance of certain ethnic groups – and I say British Pakistani males – who hold cultural values totally at odds with British values, who see women in a demeaned and illegitimate way and pursue an outdated and frankly heinous approach in terms of the way they behave”.
In October, she faced calls to resign over her choice of language when in the Commons she described the number of migrants crossing the Channel as an “invasion” of England.
This week, the Home Secretary reportedly waded into a row over offensive dolls on display in an Essex pub.
Police seized several golly dolls from the White Hart Inn in Grays, Essex, on April 4, as part of an investigation into an allegation of hate crime.
According to Mail Online, a Home Office source was quoted as saying police forces “should not be getting involved in this kind of nonsense” and should instead focus on “catching criminals”.
Tory peer Sayeeda Warsi, in an article for the Guardian on Thursday, accused Ms Braverman of engaging in “racist rhetoric” and urged the Prime Minister to take action.
“As a Conservative parliamentarian, it’s painfully disappointing to see these comments being made under the most diverse cabinet in history,” she wrote.
“I do not believe Sunak shares Braverman’s extreme views.
“But as head of the party, the responsibility stops with him. As the first prime minister from an ethnic minority background, he should not want to be remembered for presiding over a government that engaged in racist rhetoric.”
Tory Tobias Ellwood, chair of the Government’s Defence Select Committee, has also said Ms Braverman’s comments “do not sit well” with the party’s image.
He told the Guardian: “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.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Home Secretary has been clear that all despicable child abusers must be brought to justice. And she will not shy away from telling hard truths, particularly when it comes to the grooming of young women and girls in Britain’s towns who have been failed by authorities over decades.
“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.
“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.”