Pressure on Met to ban pro-Palestine protest on Armistice Day may be 'unlawful', ex-assistant commissioner tells LBC

8 November 2023, 18:59

Former Assistant Commissioner and the Former Head of Specialist Operations at the Met Neil Basu speaks to LBC
Former Assistant Commissioner and the Former Head of Specialist Operations at the Met Neil Basu speaks to LBC. Picture: Getty/Alamy/LBC
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Suella Braverman's pressure on the Metropolitan Police to ban a pro-Palestine protest planned for Armistice Day may be unlawful, a former assistant commissioner has told LBC.

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Former Assistant Met Commissioner Neil Basu told LBC's Andrew Marr: "If you're applying to a Home Secretary who's already said - unbelievably - that she would sign such an order without, it appears, to see any of the intelligence...that's not a lawful act."

He went on: "If he went to her with no evidence that there was, under section 13, of a reasonable possibility to have serious disorder - a serious threat to life, destruction of property and disruption to the community...Mark Rowley has made it clear he doesn't have that evidence."

Mr Basu added that the Met Commissioner, Sir Mark, needs the intelligence before he can put in an application to the Home Secretary to ban the march.

The former assistant Met commissioner also said that pressure from the likes of Braverman, and the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, signals the end of independent policing.

LBC has contacted the Home Office for comment.

Former assistant commissioner of the Met speaks to LBC's Andrew Marr

"What you're witnessing is the end of operational independence of policing," Mr Basu told LBC.

"This is the end of it. I say that that strongly and I surprised the National Police Chiefs' Council haven't come out with a statement."

Mr Basu also said that rhetoric from Ms Braverman may be serving to incite violence, despite only a "small minority" of people attending pro-Palestinian marches are "extremist".

Read More: Route revealed for London Palestine protest on Armistice Day, as march to go ahead despite concerns

Read More: Sunak accepts 'disrespectful' and 'offensive' pro-Palestine march will go ahead on Armistice Day after meeting Met chief

It comes after Sunak has accepted that a pro-Palestine protest planned for Armistice Day will go ahead, but slammed it as "disrespectful" and "offensive".

Sunak and Sir Mark Rowley, the Met chief, met on Wednesday to ensure the force's approach to policing the planned protest is is "robust".

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak. Picture: Getty

The prime minister, who previously called for the protest to be cancelled, has confirmed that the march will go ahead on Saturday, but continue to slam it as "disrespectful".

Sunak accepted that "freedom is the right to protest", though said that the protest "offends our heartfelt gratitude to the memory of those who gave so much so that we may live in freedom and peace today".

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