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 Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis The Minister of State, Home Department 12:31 pm, 22nd January 2020

The right hon. Lady outlined the importance of protest groups and their ability to raise the profile of the issue they are protesting about. We absolutely agree with that. As I said, we are very clear that the right to peaceful protest is a cornerstone of our just society, and an indispensable channel of political and social expression. The police have recalled the guidance and are reviewing it, and both we and the police have said that protest groups are not extremist groups, and that membership of a protest organisation is not—nor should it ever be—an indicator that an individual is vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. It is important that protest groups have that space. We believe in, defend and fight for freedom of speech, and will continue to do so.

The statutory deadline for the review to be completed and its findings shared remains 12 August 2020. The next steps are being considered right now and will be announced in due course.