Rishi Sunak has been accused of “cowardice” for “picking a fight” with the police over the planned Palestine march by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

The prime minister has said he will hold the Metropolitan Police Commissioner - Sir Mark Rowley - “accountable” for his decision to greenlight a “disrespectful” pro-Palestinian demonstration to take place on Armistice Day.

Sir Mark is meeting Sunak to discuss the issue on Wednesday, with Downing Street insisting he will be “seeking assurances” that the force’s approach is “robust” rather than trying to put pressure on the Met chief.

The commissioner has resisted calls to try to block the march calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip in London on Saturday.

He said intelligence surrounding the potential for serious disorder this weekend does not meet the threshold to apply to prohibit the march.

Starmer also called for the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, to be held accountable instead.

Speaking to broadcasters during a visit to a school in Lincolnshire, the Prime Minister said: “This is a decision that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has made.

“He has said that he can ensure that we safeguard remembrance for the country this weekend as well as keep the public safe.

“Now, my job is to hold him accountable for that.

“We’ve asked the police for information on how they will ensure that this happens. I’ll be meeting the Metropolitan Police Commissioner later today to discuss this.

“More broadly, my view is that these marches are disrespectful and that’s what I’ll be discussing with the Police Commissioner later today.”

No 10 later denied Mr Sunak is seeking to pile pressure on Sir Mark, with the Prime Minister’s spokesman saying: “No, that’s part and parcel of how Government and the Met operate.

"The person the PM needs to hold accountable is his Home Secretary"

“The Met are operationally independent, it’s the job of the Prime Minister and the Government to hold them to account for their approach.”

But the Met’s current position is “not the end point” and can be kept under review “as the intelligence picture evolves throughout the week,” the spokesman said while declining to say whether the Government would overrule the force’s decision.

Asked whether the Government is “picking a culture war” over the march, the official said: “I disagree with that.”

But Mr Sunak came under fire from Sir Keir, who tweeted: “Remembrance events must be respected. Full stop.

“But the person the PM needs to hold accountable is his Home Secretary. Picking a fight with the police instead of working with them is cowardice.”

Senior Labour MP John McDonnell, who will attend the protest, urged the Prime Minister not to “politicise” the Met by “interfering” with its decision over the “march for peace and a ceasefire”.