Britain’s Sunak Purges Right-Wing Secretary

Written by Anthony Constantini

What’s happening: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak fired Home Secretary Suella Braverman after she critiqued police inaction during pro-Hamas marches and a history of urging restrictions on migration. Sunak also made former Prime Minister David Cameron Foreign Minister.

  • An analogy: Ross Douthat recently made a comparison for American readers: “Nikki Haley, having successfully succeeded Donald Trump without an intervening election, fired J.D. Vance as Attorney General and appointed George W. Bush as her Secretary of State.”

Why it matters (to Britain): Sunak’s Conservative Party won in 2019 by swaying pro-Brexit working-class voters who had voted for the left-wing Labor Party for decades. But by picking David Cameron — who opposed Brexit as prime minister — and firing Braverman, Sunak seems to forgo that coalition and is focusing instead on middle-class suburban voters.

Why it matters (to the rest of us): The populist sentiment across the West forced many right-leaning parties to either work with populists or adopt their ideas. But it often wasn’t genuine, as shown by numerous stories about GOP politicians disliking Donald Trump, for example.

Keep in mind: Populists, on the left and right, make the establishment uncomfortable by highlighting its failures. In 2016, Bernie Sanders forced uncomfortable discussions on wealth disparity. Trump — and Braverman — highlighted immigration and crime.

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