Far-Right Violence and Online Extremism

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

Alert me about debates like this

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

The hon. Lady makes the right point. Many characteristics are shared across the spectrum of violent extremism. Whether it is Islamist/Daesh/ISIL extremism or far-right extremism, they often use the same methods. They often appeal to the same type of people.

Both the Government and the Opposition Front Bench have been grappling with how to deal with safe spaces, either in the material world or, indeed, online. This concept of safe spaces either in failed states or on the internet, where these people are reinforcing their prejudices and joining up, is characteristic of the 21st century. It could be argued that 10 years ago people sat on their own in their bedroom and spoke to no one, but now they can speak to thousands. That is being used to seduce people, to groom people and to twist people.

We must start in our schools, which is why I am pleased that the state, local education authorities and primary schools have started to teach children about using the internet safely. Some of the big communications service providers, such as Google and Facebook, also go out to schools and teach young children about how to behave on the internet and what to be careful of.

The challenge is growing. Hopefully, the online White Paper will be a doorway we can all go through and will start a big debate about how to tackle this. But there is also the simple issue that we all have to think about what we, our children and our friends are looking at. We have to ask ourselves, “How are we going to stop it in this day and age?” How many people in this Chamber, at any one time, are on their telephone? An awful lot.