Sadiq Khan told to 'get a grip' of Met Police amid fresh antisemitism row: 'Accountability lies with him!'

Sadiq Khan told to 'get a grip' of Met Police amid fresh antisemitism row: 'Accountability lies with him!'

WATCH NOW: Claire Coutinho shifts blame for Met Police incident onto Sadiq Khan

GB News
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 21/04/2024

- 11:01

Gideon Falter was subjected to threats of arrest for being 'openly Jewish' during a central London pro-Palestine demonstration

Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Claire Coutinho, has hit out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan following the latest backlash against the Metropolitan Police.

The Met was forced to apologise twice after the chief executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, Gideon Falter, was threatened with arrest during a pro-Palestine demonstration, after an officer branded him "openly Jewish".

In a secondary statement, the Met Police apologised for causing "further offence" after its initial apology claimed Falter's presence could have been "provocative". In its new statement the force said Jewish Londoners "must be able to feel safe in this city".

Reacting to the latest incident on GB News, Coutinho said the force had taken a "serious misstep" with the incident, and criticised its approach to the continued protests throughout the capital.

Claire Coutinho and Sadiq Khan

Claire Coutinho says the 'person who's got accountability for the London Met is the Labour London Mayor'

GB News / PA

Speaking to host Camilla Tominey, Coutinho said of the incident: "The Home Secretary has made clear that what happened was unacceptable.

"What's really important is that people in the Jewish community feel safe. What we want to see is equal policing in this country, and also to make sure that Jewish people can go about their normal lives."

When asked by Camilla if she believes the Government has "confidence" in the Met Police's Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley, Coutinho said that as the former minister for free speech, she feels it is "fundamental" for "everyone to have equal freedoms".

She added: "What you can't do is place the needs of one identity over the needs of another."

Gideon Falter

Gideon Falter was told he was being 'openly Jewish' at a pro-Palestinian protest in London

Campaign Against Antisemitism

When pressed again by Camilla for an answer, Coutinho revealed who she believes is the "person accountable" for the misstep of the Met.


​Coutinho told GB News: "I can't speak for the conversations that the Home Secretary is going to have with some authority, but I would just remind everyone that the person who's got accountability for the London Met is the Labour London Mayor.

"And actually, he needs to get a grip on these protests and make sure that it's not the case that a particular group, in this case, the Jewish community, feel like they can't use the freedoms that we all have to walk about London and live normal lives."

In defence of the Met Police, Coutinho made clear that it is "not an easy thing to police", but they have made a "number of mistakes" regarding the pro-Palestine protests in London.

Coutinho stated: "It's really important that we do grip this, because it is about people's fundamental ability to feel like they have equality in this country."

Claire Coutinho

Coutinho says the Met Police have made a 'number of mistakes' in regard to the protests

GB News

Discussing next steps for the Met Police, Coutinho concluded: "My priority is that we get the policing right. I haven't had those conversations with Sir Mark Rowley, but what I do want to see is every member of our communities in London feeling like they can walk around and do what they need to do.

"That for me, is what equality means, and that's how we have a cohesive society."

A spokesman for the London Mayor said: "Everybody must feel safe going about in London wherever they please.

"The way the original incident was dealt with by the Met was concerning and the original response put out by them was insensitive and wrong. The Met have an extremely difficult job – particularly so when it comes to operational decisions taken while policing marches.

"But in the end the Met must have the confidence of the communities they serve and it is right that they have apologised for the way the incident was handled and their original public response."

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