Far-Right Violence and Online Extremism

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:43 pm on 18th March 2019.

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Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Minister of State (Home Office) (Security) 4:43 pm, 18th March 2019

The hon. Lady makes some very valid points. First, on the money to protect vulnerable places—whether places of worship, schools or large public areas where people might gather—we of course continue to fund that where the threat requires it. We will continue to review the places of worship fund. The last round of ’18-19 was not oversubscribed despite efforts to advertise it to a number of mosques and other places of worship. We will continue to build on that, and if there is more requirement for it we will certainly stand ready to do that, to make sure my constituents in Preston in their mosques and the hon. Lady’s constituents in theirs get the support they need. Every single police force has a national counter-terrorism security adviser whose job is to go out and advise businesses, communities and places of worship about what they can do to mitigate any threat, even if it is threat unseen, and how they can make sure the people who use their premises are kept safe, and I urge people to do that.

On top of that, the National Counter Terrorism Security Office publishes an online manual to help places of worship, specifically, with tailor-made areas. The Home Secretary and the Communities Secretary are absolutely determined to make sure that the threat of attacks such as what we have seen in New Zealand are headed off. There are different factors at play in the United Kingdom but nevertheless, as I said this morning, it is perfectly possible that this type of thing will happen here.

We are already seeing a growing threat from people moving into the extremist mindset of the extreme right wing and neo-Nazis, and that is the pool that terrorists of the future will recruit from. We must all get together—all of us—to make sure that we teach our children about tolerance and equality and that we understand that just because someone disagrees with us, they are not lesser people. If someone comes from a different religion, they are not lesser, and if they have a different colour, they are not lesser. Until we embrace that, extremism will grow. Doing that is the best way of heading off far-right and neo-Nazi extremism.