Beverley Knight calls Suella Braverman a ‘risible character’ after ‘disgusting’ Windrush reform reversal

Beverley Knight has described home secretary Suella Braverman as “a risible character” due to the Home Office’s “disgusting” choice to abandon Windrush reform plans.

Last month, Braverman was criticised after ditching plans to establish the post of migrants’ commissioner, as well as saying that the Home Office would not hold reconciliation events, despite previous government commitments to address the injustices of the Windrush scandal.

In a new interview, Knight was asked her opinion about Braverman’s decision.

“It’s disgusting. She’s a risible character,” she told The Guardian in an interview published on Sunday (19 February).

“I cannot believe she’s in government. I cannot believe she is our home secretary.

“Priti Patel I thought was awful – but then in true hold-my-beer style, Suella Braverman entered the picture…”

Knight is currently starring in Sylvia at London’s Old Vic theatre, playing leading suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

Elsewhere in the interview, the “Shoulda Woulda Coulda” singer also addressed the negative response some people had to her being cast as Pankhurst during the first stage iteration of Sylvia in 2018.

Knight described the criticism as stemming from “racism – and, in some cases, not understanding the medium of theatre and that this is a theatrical production, not a biopic”.

The cast of ‘Sylvia' (Manuel Harlan)
The cast of ‘Sylvia' (Manuel Harlan)

Continuing her point about casting and diversity, Knight explained that each instance is different and needed to be treated with nuance.

“It’s not black and white,” she said. “You wouldn’t cast someone white as Nelson Mandela because race is intrinsic to his story. But I can relate to Emmeline’s fight for suffrage – and, as a woman, I understand that having your own voice and using it is crucial.

“Casting is a detailed process – it is not simplistic, it is case by case.”

Sylvia is at the Old Vic until 8 April. You can read The Independent’s review here.