Definition of Islamophobia

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:29 pm on 16th May 2019.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Conservative, South Holland and The Deepings 1:29 pm, 16th May 2019

In that case, let me draw my remarks to a conclusion with my final two points, which I will deal with very briefly.

We have to take it very seriously indeed when anti-terrorist police, notably Martin Hewitt, who has been mentioned already, describe the risks associated with this initiative in the way that he has. He describes them as

“undermining counterterrorist policing powers and tactics.”

That very damning criticism should not be dismissed lightly.

We should also take it very seriously when human rights lawyers say that these proposals would lead to judicial reviews and legal confusion which, as the House knows, they have. Finally, we should, I am afraid, question whether the effect of this debate will not be to fuel the extreme and far right, who I am profoundly concerned are gaining a foothold again in our country. I go back to the 1970s, when I was a member of the Anti-Nazi League and marched against the National Front in Lewisham, Ilford and elsewhere. The far right will see this as a justification for their intolerance and it may well be that what is well intentioned and propounded by decent and honourable people is turned against them. For all those reasons—I could talk about the Policy Exchange report, but I will not—I cannot support the hon. Member for Ilford North, much as I admire him.