Un International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:16 pm on 8th April 2019.

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Photo of Imran Hussain Imran Hussain Shadow Minister (Justice) 8:16 pm, 8th April 2019

I thank my hon. Friend. Let us as a House come together to celebrate the fact that in the face of hatred and division of any kind, we stand in unity and make sure that those who seek to divide us never ever succeed. We reaffirm that principle here today.

Just last month, the Security Service and the Met police identified far-right terrorism as a key threat to the safety of our country, with the police having stopped a number of far-right terror attacks over the past few years. The Hope Not Hate “State of Hate 2019” report echoes that, finding not only a continued rising trend in traffic to far-right websites and in followers of far-right social media accounts, but that the far right is getting younger and more extreme. I will not mince my words: we are witnessing a dangerous resurgence of Nazi ideology. When we talk about racial discrimination today, we cannot avoid that topic.

We also cannot avoid the fact that racial discrimination has been encouraged and the far right emboldened, normalised and even legitimised by the media and others who must share the blame. In very many instances, broadcasters and newspapers have given air time and column inches to those who spread hate, giving them the means to do so in the name of balanced coverage. Nothing is balanced about the far-right, extreme views of those who seek to divide us and share more with neo-Nazism than with a modern, tolerant society, so that practice must end. We must give no platform to those who spread hatred.

Furthermore, we must not just call out and shut down racism, hatred and extreme far-right fascist views where we see them, but press authorities to do much more. Right now, they are doing nowhere near what is necessary to tackle the resurgence of fascism, with a dangerous over-reliance on tip-offs or mistakes by extremists. That was demonstrated most recently in the case of National Action, which was brought down and brought to justice through the work not of agencies but of Hope Not Hate. I pay tribute to that organisation, which has a long-standing track record of fighting against racism. It continues to do that work. However, we should never be in the situation of third sector organisations doing more to combat extremism than those we should trust to keep us safe.

I have a lengthy speech but, looking at the clock, I see that time does not permit it. However, I join my hon. Friend the Member for Warrington South in paying tribute to Raheem Sterling. As a House, we should come together on that, because he has made his views absolutely clear. On the way here, while I was writing my speech—a lot of which I have not been able to deliver in the debate, tragically—I saw that statement on the television. He made it clear that racism will not defeat any sportsmen, on or off the pitch. I pay tribute to him.