GRANT Shapps has insisted Suella Braverman’s column that has been blamed for emboldening far-right activists contained a “very important” sentiment.

In a BBC interview on Sunday, the Defence Secretary was asked if it was right for his Cabinet colleague to suggest the Metropolitan Police had “double standards” and  “play favourites” with protesters ahead of a planned pro-Palestinian on Armistice Day.

While Shapps distanced himself from Braverman’s specific choice of words, he nevertheless suggested he didn’t completely disagree with the sentiment of it.

Asked by Laura Kuenssberg if he agreed with Braverman, he said: “I think it’s incredibly important that where people have breached the law, going around carrying banners with swastikas on them for example, shouting ‘from the river to the sea’ which is clearly an antisemitic trope, that they arrest people.

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“As others in Cabinet have said, I wouldn’t use that set of words myself, but I do think the sentiment that’s very important [is] not just to take action but to get the prosecutions and ensure that people don’t feel they can do these things, say these things, wave these banners around - sometimes supporting prescribed organisations as in Hamas – without sanction, is very important.”

The Met Police have said the debate following Braverman’s column in the Times did increase tensions in the community, as they condemned “extreme violence” by far-right counter-protesters at the Cenotaph.

A large crowd of people bearing St George flags was seen walking along Embankment and shouting “England ’til I die” shortly after 10am on Saturday.

Skirmishes broke out as police attempted to stop them from reaching the Cenotaph war memorial but the group pushed through, with some shouting “let’s have them” as officers hit out with batons.

Braverman continues to face accusations she broke the ministerial code by not having the piece signed off by Number 10.

As well as attacking the police, she used the Troubles in Northern Ireland as a point of comparison when talking about pro-Palestinian “hate marches”.

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She claimed some of Saturday’s march group organisers had links to terrorist groups which was “disturbingly reminiscent” of Ulster.

Shapps went on: “I do think it’s very important the police act quickly, I think there have been concerns sometimes that people have felt at liberty – perhaps because they haven’t seen swift enough action - to carry on going out carrying these banners, singing these chants and breaking laws which were in place to prevent racial hatred.

“On the other hand, I wouldn’t put it in those particular set of words because I recognise the police have a very difficult job to do.”

When asked if Braverman would remain in her post, he said “a week’s a long time in politics”.

“I never make predictions about these things,” he added.

First Minister Humza Yousaf has called on Braverman to resign after she “emboldened” far-right protesters.

Rishi Sunak – who is coming under severe pressure from Tory MPs to sack Braverman – condemned “wholly unacceptable” actions by far-right groups and “Hamas sympathisers”.