Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism

Part of Deferred Divisions – in the House of Commons at 7:29 pm on 21st January 2015.

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Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration) 7:29 pm, 21st January 2015

With the leave of the House, and in thanking right hon. and hon. Members for their support for the order this evening, let me respond first to the shadow Minister, Diana Johnson. Yes, of course we are vigilant in seeking to combat the use of messages on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or any other social media platform, including the new ones that appear. That is precisely why we have the counter-terrorism internet referral unit with which the hon. Lady will be familiar. It has taken down 72,000 individual items since it was established in 2010. She highlighted a video and the original has been removed, but it continues to be put up in different places. That is why we have the CTIRU to flag that and to work with industry to take it down.

The hon. Lady and other right hon. and hon. Members made a broader point about the role and responsibility of the internet industry. We are obviously flagging these items, but the industry has a responsibility to take action when it identifies such images. A number of companies do that, but there is more to be done for them to realise their responsibilities and take further action. Indeed, the Prime Minister’s comments on this subject after the publication of the Intelligence and Security Committee’s report on Woolwich identified that challenge and how we all need to do more. The social media companies and the internet industry certainly need to do more.

I entirely endorse the comments made by Sir Hugh Bayley about working with communities. That is precisely the approach the Government take. We are seeking to ensure that we challenge ourselves on what more we can do and that is why the provisions in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, which is currently in the other place, put on a statutory basis our work on counter-radicalisation and the Channel de-radicalisation programmes.

We are doing work in government, but there is also work in communities. Some incredible British Muslims are taking a stand and showing leadership, such as the 100 imams who wrote a letter condemning the actions of ISIL and groups such as Families Against Stress and Trauma. Through their programmes, there is an outlet that prevents people from being radicalised and going down that pathway. This is clearly a broader and wider debate. We have debated some of it on the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, but proscription can be an important way for the police to get further evidence, which can lead to prosecution of those who belong to groups that are not proscribed.

I am grateful to the House for the support it has shown this evening. I hope that we will remain vigilant, whether online, in communities or more broadly, to ensure that we do our utmost to protect our country and our citizens and to confound and confront those who would do us harm.

Question put and agreed to.