Prevent Programme

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:31 pm on 22nd January 2020.

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Photo of Diane Abbott Diane Abbott Shadow Home Secretary 12:31 pm, 22nd January 2020

The Minister will be aware that guidance issued by the counter-terrorism police on extremist ideologies as part of the Prevent programme did include Extinction Rebellion. He is telling the House now that it was an error of judgment; the Opposition argue that it was a very serious error of judgment. Can he tell the House whether he agrees with Sir Peter Fahy, the head of Prevent from 2010 to 2015, who said that Extinction Rebellion

“is about lawful protest and disruption to get publicity…very different from terrorist acts”?

We also understand that in the guidance document, there is mention of organisations such as Greenpeace, the “Stop the badger cull” campaign, the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and of vegan activists. Can the House be provided with a list of the organisations mentioned in the counter-terrorism police guidance? What is the basis for the inclusion of groups such as vegan activists? Will the Secretary of State accept that in a democracy there is a fundamental right to disagreement and non-violent campaigning, and that interfering with or denying that right—even through an error of judgment—is a fundamental breach of the democratic contract between the Government and the governed?

Finally, there is supposed to be a review of Prevent, which we understand will report back in August. Can the Minister tell me who the leader of the Prevent review is, now that Lord Carlile has stepped down? Can the Minister also assure the House that the review will indeed report back in August?