Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons am 6:54 pm ar 24 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Minister of State (Home Office) (Security) 6:54, 24 Ebrill 2024

I welcome all the comments made, particularly by my hon. Friend Dan Jarvis. He has been a friend for many years and we have worked together on many different operations in many different parts of the world—although very few were quite as vile as this one, I am afraid; Terrorgram is a genuinely horrific organisation. He raised some interesting points about the protection of the Jewish community, and he is absolutely right. The Community Safety Trust, which he and I both support, will receive an additional £54 million in funding to continue to provide measures until 2028. As he knows, that commitment was made only a few weeks ago by the Prime Minister.

My hon. Friend also quite rightly raised the incidents of anti-Muslim hatred that Tell MAMA has recorded. He is completely correct that we have sadly seen an increase in that area as well as in antisemitism, and he will know that we have also been very clear that those organisations, mosques and schools that require extra support and protection can get it from the Home Office—indeed, many have been applying, and I have had the privilege of ensuring that they are able to get the funding they need for their own security, to prevent harm to anybody in the Muslim community as well.

I want to touch briefly on some of the areas raised by Alison Thewliss, who made some interesting points about an individual. If she will forgive me, I will not speak about that individual in particular, but I will say that proscription works against organisations and is not an individual power. However, she is also aware that sanctions do work against individuals and, where we are aware that individuals are connected to such hateful organisations—certainly if they are connected to proscribed organisations, as I am confident Terrorgram will be very shortly after this debate—there is no way that somebody like that would be, in the legal term, conducive to the public good, and there is no way that they should be allowed access to the United Kingdom.

The hon. Lady also raised an interesting point about St George’s day. I must say that I have been to many St George’s day lunches, at the very generous invitation of individuals who, when I was still in uniform, used to be very kind. I can see my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley Central remembers them too. We used to get invited to lunches in various parts of the country—my latest was in West Malling—and I may say that while we sat down for lunch at midday, I do not remember when we stood up from lunch. That was a great day of celebration and a fantastic moment for all of us. What we saw yesterday was no celebration of St George’s day or English national patriotism; it was simply thuggish violence and it has no place on our streets.

On tech, the hon. Lady is absolutely right that, sadly, it is very easy to go down a rabbit hole or a tech black hole that leads to an amazing warren of hate-filled conspiracy theories. This is an area where tech companies themselves have a responsibility to play their part. I have engaged with them in many different areas, including child sexual abuse online, which she knows I have devoted a lot of time to combating. However, this is another area where she is quite right that there is more work to be done and more responsibility on those who are profiting from the attention of individuals across the world.

The last point I want to make is on the definition of extremism. My hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley Central knows very well that this is an important piece of work. There is more work to be done on the actual list, as he rightly says, but I will bring it forward as soon as we ready to do so. He will understand that we want to make sure it is as robust and complete as it possibly can be, but he will be among the first to know as soon as it is ready.

I have seen some truly harrowing material in this job, but the scenes from the attack on the gay bar in Slovakia, where innocent people were gunned down in cold blood, ranks among the absolute worst. The manifesto written by the perpetrator advocated the murder of gay people, Jewish people and black people—not for anything they have done, but for who they are. Make no mistake: this was not just an attack on the LGBT community, and the Terrorgram collective is not just a threat to our national security. This was an attack on the values and principles that define who we are, and who we are as a nation. The Terrorgram collective is a threat to our society. There is no place whatsoever for the vile ideology espoused by the Terrorgram collective. We will not tolerate it. Proscribing it is a proportionate and necessary step in our ongoing effort to tackle terrorism, protect the public and defend our values. We will never relent in showing terrorism for what it is: a poisonous, corrosive force—