Andrew Neil urges action from Rishi Sunak as Remembrance protest row rages

Nigel Farage slams inaction over Remembrance Day protests

Andrew Neil warned Britain urgently needs “clear and strong leadership” as a row rages over a pro-Palestine march planned for Remembrance Day.

The veteran journalist labelled the Met Police weak after the force issued a statement begging protesters to “urgently reconsider” the rally in central London this Saturday.

Neil questioned where Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was amid calls for the demonstration – which is demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict – to be banned.

The former BBC presenter said: “I doubt the Metropolitan Police has ever looked weaker. But where is the Prime Minister in all this?

“The country needs and is crying out for clear and strong leadership from the top. But silence or, at best, bromides are not leadership. Many fear the PM just doesn’t have it in him.”

In a statement last night, Scotland Yard urged protest organisers not to hold the march on Armistice Day amid concerns about breakaway groups causing violence.

The force said senior officers had held a meeting with various groups on Monday but they had refused to cancel planned events.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan, who leads public order policing in the English capital, said: “The risk of violence and disorder linked to breakaway groups is growing.

“This is of concern ahead of a significant and busy weekend in the capital.

“Our message to organisers is clear: please, we ask you to urgently reconsider. It is not appropriate to hold any protests in London this weekend.”

Mr Sunak earlier said police have the Government’s “absolute and total backing” to tackle criminality and maintain order.

Speaking yesterday, the Prime Minister said: “Remembrance Day is a time for national reflection.

“It is a time when I know the whole country will come together to pay tribute to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe.

“I want to make sure police have our absolute and total backing to clamp down on any acts of criminality, but also to ensure public order.”

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, organiser of the planned demonstration, has pledged to avoid the Whitehall area where the Cenotaph is located.

The planned route will take them from Hyde Park – about a mile from the Cenotaph – to the US embassy in Vauxhall, south of the Thames.

The Met said officers would use “all powers and tactics” at their disposal to prevent disruption, including Section 13 of the Public Order Act 1986, which allows the banning of a procession when there is a risk of serious disorder.

The force must prove the threshold for a Section 13 order has been met before seeking approval from the Home Secretary to sign off on a ban.

In a statement, the protest organisers said: “We have made clear that we have no intention of marching on or near Whitehall, in order not to disrupt events at the Cenotaph.

“We are alarmed by members of the Government, including the Prime Minster, issuing statements suggesting that the march is a direct threat to the Cenotaph and designed to disrupt the Remembrance Day commemorations.”

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