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The most ‘sinister’ part of Sunak’s speech according to Labour peer and human rights lawyer

Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, the Labour peer and human rights lawyer, is speaking to Trevor Phillips about Rishi Sunak’s speech on Friday.

This address came after the election of George Galloway, and also the suspension of Lee Anderson from the Conservative parliamentary party.

Baroness Chakrabarti, a former director of the charity Liberty, says the most “sinister” part of the speech was Mr Sunak “almost suggesting that he has read the riot act to the police”.

She says: “I think in a liberal democracy – and he’s now claiming to be a liberal patriot, I think that was the language he used – we don’t have prime ministers interfering with operational policing.”

The Labour peer says this has happened a number of times under Mr Sunak, where police chiefs are called into Downing Street, and then a press release is put out about what they have been told by the prime minister.

Challenged about her use of the word sinister, Baroness Chakrabarti says she uses it because of the “cheek” of Mr Sunak talking about those issues “when so many of his ministers and senior Conservatives have been pouring fuel on the flames of polarisation, culture war, division in our country” – singling out Lee Anderson and Suella Braverman.

Phillips also speaks to journalist Sarfraz Manzoor.

Mr Manzoor says the speech, in his view, was “something born from calculation and cynicism, rather than conviction”.

He says that too many politicians on both sides seem “more comfortable in banalities and fudges” and “spouting pieties rather than actually speaking with conviction”.

“And therefore, if you don’t have people who can speak with clarity and with nuance, then I think that this territory gets surrendered to people who do speak with conviction, even if what they’re saying is absolute nonsense,” Mr Manzoor says.

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