Orange Order's Mervyn Gibson says public clarification needed from Braverman on Palestine-Ulster remarks
Mervyn Gibson says he doesn't recognise Suella Braverman's comments as being representative of any Loyal Order parades and has called for clarity on who exactly she was referring to.Mr Gibson said: “We don’t believe she is referring to the Orange Order or any of the Loyal Orders and note that sources have briefed the BBC that she was referring to dissident republicans.“However, we would like her to clarify the remarks and, if that is not done publicly, we will be writing to her seeking clarification”. Mrs Braverman said some people organising pro-Palestine rallies in London on Saturday “have links to terrorist groups, including Hamas” and said this was “disturbingly reminiscent of Ulster”. She also said that the marches are an "assertion of primacy by certain groups – particularly Islamists – of the kind we are more used to seeing in Northern Ireland."
There have been calls for the Home Secretary to be sacked after the comments, and former Northern Ireland secretary Lord Peter Hain said the remarks were an attack on Orange Order marches.
He said: "Why on earth is this gratuitously offensive Home Secretary meddling in Northern Ireland affairs with her ignorant attack on Orange Order marches by traditional unionists?”
Mervyn Gibson pointed out that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris attended Twelfth of July celebrations this year. "If that was an event as described by the Home Secretary – a hate march – surely he would have objected to it, rather than praising the event?" he said.This week orange lodges across the United Kingdom wrote to the prime minister and the home secretary calling for action to halt protest parades planned this weekend which will coincide with Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday events.Grand Secretary Gibson said "Whilst respecting the right to protest, we believe that actions to disrupt the annual Act of Remembrance, by any group or for whatever purpose, must be recognised not only as an attack to our remembrance traditions, but a grave insult to the memory of all those who gave their lives to ensure freedom all generations who follow.”