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Prevent Strategy

Volume 529: debated on Tuesday 7 June 2011

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on the review of the Government’s strategy to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

Intelligence indicates that the UK faces a serious and sustained threat from terrorism. Osama bin Laden may be dead, but the threat from al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism is not. Indeed, the threat level from international terrorism remains at “Severe”, meaning an attack is highly likely. That threat comes both from foreign nationals and from terrorists born and bred in Britain.

To tackle that threat, as the Prime Minister made clear in his speech in Munich earlier this year, we must not only arrest and prosecute those who breach the law, but we must stop people being drawn into terrorist-related activity in the first place. That will require a new approach to integrating our divided communities, led by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and delivered by Ministers across the whole of Government. In counter-terrorism policy, it will require an effective strategy to tackle radicalisation in this country and overseas. That is why, last year, I launched a review of the existing counter-radicalisation strategy known as Prevent. That review found that the Prevent programme that we inherited from the previous Government was flawed. It confused Government policy to promote integration with Government policy to prevent terrorism. It failed to tackle the extremist ideology that not only undermines the cohesion of our society, but inspires would-be terrorists to seek to bring death and destruction to our towns and cities. In trying to reach out to those at risk of radicalisation, funding sometimes even reached the very extremist organisations that Prevent should have been confronting. We will not make the same mistakes.

Our new strategy is guided by a number of key principles. Prevent should remain an integral part of our counter-terrorism strategy, Contest, a full update of which we will publish later this summer. Its aim should be to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Prevent should address all forms of terrorism, including the extreme right wing. That is only right and proper and will also provide a more flexible basis to adapt to emerging threats in the future.

In a world of scarce resources, it is clear that Prevent work must be targeted against those forms of terrorism that pose the greatest risk to our national security. Currently, the greatest threat comes from al-Qaeda and those it inspires. The majority of Prevent resources and efforts will therefore be devoted to stopping people joining or supporting al-Qaeda, its affiliates or like-minded groups. But Prevent must also recognise and tackle the insidious impact of non-violent extremism, which can create an atmosphere conducive to terrorism and can popularise views that terrorists exploit.

Prevent depends on a successful integration strategy, but integration alone will not meet our counter-terrorism objectives, and our integration programme should go much wider than just security and counter-terrorism. This was a fundamental failing of the last Government’s approach. They failed to promote integration, and where they did promote it, they did so through the narrow prism of counter-terrorism. So we will do more than any Government before us to promote integration, including through teaching our history and values in our schools, through the national citizen service, and through other policies, but we will do so separately and differently from Prevent. The combined effect of this work and of the new Prevent strategy will be an unyielding fight against extremism, violent extremism and radicalisation.

It is critical that agencies, Departments and local authorities work to a common set of Prevent objectives to deliver the outcomes that we want. Public funding for Prevent must be rigorously prioritised and comprehensively audited. The previous Government were far too lax in spending in this area, as they were in so many others. Let me reiterate that under this Government, public money will not be provided to extremist organisations. If organisations do not support the values of democracy, human rights, equality before the law, participation in society—if they do not accept these fundamental and universal values—we will not work with them and we will not fund them.

Within this overall framework, the new Prevent strategy will have three objectives. First, Prevent will respond to the ideological challenge and the threat from those who promote it. As the Deputy Prime Minister said in his speech in Luton, we must be much more assertive about our values. Let me be clear: the ideology of extremism and terrorism is the problem; Islam emphatically is not. Tackling that ideology will mean working with mainstream individuals and organisations to make sure moderate voices are heard. It will mean robustly defending our institutions and our way of life. So where propagandists break the law in encouraging or approving terrorism, it will mean arrest and prosecution, and where people seek to enter this country from overseas to engage in activity in support of extremist or terrorist groups, we will exclude them. Since coming to power, I have already excluded 44 individuals from the UK either because of unacceptable behaviour or for national security reasons.

Secondly, Prevent will stop individuals being drawn into terrorism and will ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support. Radicalisation is a process, not a one-off event. During that process it is possible to intervene to stop vulnerable people gravitating towards terrorism. We will do this by building on the successful multi-agency “Channel” programme, which identifies and provides support for people at risk of radicalisation. I want to use this opportunity to make one thing clear—Prevent is not about spying on communities, as some have alleged. It is about acting on information from the police, the security and intelligence agencies, local authorities and community organisations to help those specifically at risk of turning towards terrorism. It is incumbent on everyone in this country to play their part in helping them do so.

Thirdly, we will work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation. It is right to acknowledge that progress has been made in this area, but that progress has been patchy and it must be improved. So we will work with education and health care providers, universities, faith groups, charities, prisons and the wider criminal justice system. We will also work to tackle the particular challenge of radicalisation on the internet, and to make better use ourselves of social media and other modern communications technologies.

This review has been independently overseen by Lord Carlile of Berriew, and I pay tribute to him for his contribution. Lord Carlile has said that the new Prevent strategy has his full support. He said that

“it provides a template for challenging the extremist ideas and terrorist actions which seek to undermine the rule of law and fundamental British political values and institutions. Its tone is clear, and its policy compelling. It offers a positive message for mutual respect, tolerance and liberty.”

Prevent has not been without controversy. In the past, it received allegations that it was a cover for spying. Those allegations have been found to be false, but now we will make sure that this is seen and known to be the case. In the past, Prevent was muddled up with integration. It operated to confused and contradictory objectives—not any more. At times funding even found its way to the sorts of extremist organisations that themselves pose a threat to our society and to our security—not under this Government.

Let me be clear. We will not fund or work with organisations that do not subscribe to the core values of our society. Our new Prevent strategy will challenge the extremist ideology, it will help protect sectors and institutions from extremists, and it will stop the radicalisation of vulnerable people. Above all, it will tackle the threat from home-grown terrorism. I commend this statement to the House.

We should take this opportunity to pay tribute to those who work so hard to protect our national security. Today we expected the Home Secretary to update the Prevent strategy, but she has done nothing of the sort. We support updating the Prevent strategy, but there is a massive gap between her rhetoric today and the reality of her policies. Where she should be building consensus around counter-terrorism, instead she has been political point-scoring. She has set out no actual proposals on how she would deliver in such an important area.

Most of the work on the development of Prevent was done after the 7/7 bombings and it was treading completely new ground. Urgent work was needed to disrupt the process of radicalisation, but there was no experience to draw on, and a range of different approaches was rightly tried. Much of that work was supported by the Opposition at the time. Some like “Channel” were very successful; some were not as effective. We were clear from the very beginning that it would need to be reviewed and evolve in the light of the evidence. The same is true now.

The Home Secretary, however, has claimed with great certainty that she will not make mistakes. If she believes that she now knows all the answers on how to tackle extremism and radicalisation, she is heading for a fall. In her desire to blame the previous Government for everything she is blinding herself and her Government to the fact that this is difficult work. Some of what she would like to do will work, but some will not, and it will need to be reviewed again, but that should be on the basis of evidence, not political positioning.

The Home Secretary has not even told us what her new mistake-free strategy involves. We agree that some groups should not be funded because of their extremist views, but the review says that it found no evidence to indicate widespread, systematic or deliberate funding of extremist groups, either by the Home Office or by local authorities or police forces. She has told us nothing about the new framework that will somehow prevent it happening inadvertently with local decisions in place. She has said that there will be a new focus on integration from the Department for Communities and Local Government, but what is it, what will it do and how will it be funded? She has already cut 40% from the Prevent funding for local councils this year alone and they have major cuts still to come.

The Home Secretary has claimed that there will be stronger work by universities and the NHS, but the Universities UK and the British Medical Association have already rejected her views. How workable are these plans if such critical stakeholders are hostile from the start? She has not set out different approaches for dealing with violent extremism, non-violent extremist and integration and seems to be confusing all three. Is it not the truth that there is a massive gap between her rhetoric and reality?

The Prime Minister has claimed that there will now be no more of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism, but what will the Government actually do and how will they deliver? Police counter-terrorism budgets are being cut in real terms, as are the Foreign Office’s counter-terrorism programmes, and later today the Home Secretary will introduce a Bill that will make it harder, not easier, to prevent terrorism attacks by watering down elements of control orders. Despite all the Prime Minister’s strong claims about getting tough on extremists, there is still no sign that he will meet his pre-election promise to ban the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

I know from previous experience of the Home Secretary’s statements that if I give her a long list of questions, she will not answer them, so let me leave her with just one: will she confirm that the Government will not meet their promise to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir and admit that sometimes it is not as easy in practice to deliver counter-terrorism and work to prevent extremism as it is to make grand political promises as she has done today?

I am rather disappointed in the tone that the right hon. Lady has taken in her response. On the one hand she said that she recognised that the Prevent strategy needed review, but on the other hand she has completely rejected the review that has taken place. She claims that no change is taking place, but clearly there is. On Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Government are concerned about that group’s actions and keep it under constant review. She asked me to confirm that that is a very difficult area in which to work, which I am happy to do. It is difficult to make the proper judgments in this area.

When we came into office we looked at the previous Government’s approach and found that they had not looked at the issue of extremism but focused instead on violent extremism. We believe that it is important to look at extremism, because people involved in it can be led on to violent extremism and terrorist acts. We believe that it is also important to look at extremism because it can create an atmosphere in which people can more easily be radicalised towards terrorism. That is a key change that we are bringing about. We are looking at all forms of terrorism and have made that clear in what we are doing.

I have identified a number of areas where I think not enough has been done to look at radicalisation. The right hon. Lady said that Universities UK had rejected the review’s statements relating to universities, but I have to say to her and to Universities UK that I consider one of the problems to have been a degree of complacency in universities and their unwillingness to recognise the radicalisation that can take place on their campuses and do anything about it. We aim to work with universities to ensure that in future, with regard to their pastoral duty of care to students, they take radicalisation seriously and act accordingly.

There will be real differences in the approach we are taking. It has been a problem in the past that, because Prevent covered both integration and the counter-terrorism aspects of the strategy, it was perceived to be the securitisation of integration, so it is right that the Department for Communities and Local Government will take on the integration aspect of our policy and work on aspects of community cohesion.

Finally, I think that it is absolutely right that the Government should look very carefully at the groups that are being funded, analyse and evaluate them properly and carefully monitor how money is spent. The previous Government did not do that.

I welcome wholeheartedly my right hon. Friend’s statement and comments, not least because a couple of weeks ago I received a letter from a Muslim inmate of one of our high-security prisons, in which he said:

‘Last week our prison service imam told us ‘not to believe western media’ in relation to the death of Usama bin Laden. The week prior to that the imam celebrated the escape of hundreds of Taliban prisoners from the Kabul jail.’

He went on to list equally inappropriate teachings by prison imams in a total of five prisons. The Home Secretary is right to draw attention to the previous Government’s complacency over the issue. Will she give an undertaking that this will be put right and that we will not be able to say those things next year?

I thank my right hon. Friend for bringing that letter to the attention of the House and, in doing so, raising a very important aspect of the work on which we wish to focus. There is a great deal more to be done in prisons, and a number of steps that we intend to take are set out in the Prevent strategy today. I should be very happy to receive a copy of that letter, if he feels able to share it with me, so that we can look at the specific allegations that have been made, but we intend to work more carefully with prisons, prison staff, the National Offender Management Service and those going into prisons to deal with individual prisoners in order to try to ensure that we do not see the sort of activity taking place that he has identified.

Who could possibly disagree with the three objectives that the Home Secretary has set out? But she has not done herself or her Government justice by seeking to make party political points about those who had to deal—I did not have to—with the reality of post-7 July 2005. I have just one very simple question. How can she this afternoon talk about building on our institutions and on an understanding of our values and history while the Education Secretary is proposing to withdraw citizenship from the school curriculum?

In relation to my comments on the previous Government, we did a proper review of the Prevent strategy to identify those areas where change was necessary. We have done that, and I have brought to the House a number of areas where we believe the previous Government’s strategy was flawed and where it is necessary to make changes, which I have set out before the House today.

In relation to what is happening in education, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education is quite clear about the necessity of ensuring that values are indeed taught in our schools, but that that is done in a number of ways, including through the proper teaching of our history.

During the cold war, Governments of Labour and Conservative persuasions differentiated between communists who were subversive and broke the law and communists who preached a totalitarian philosophy. Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is the job of the police and of the Security Service to deal with those Islamists or, as I prefer to call them, un-Islamic extremists who break the law, but that the job of Prevent must be to destroy the philosophical basis of the perversion of the religion that they seek to convey?

I certainly agree with my hon. Friend that we need to ensure that those who break the law are dealt with appropriately. We need to ensure also that we challenge the ideology—or, the perverse ideology—that people use to lure others down the road of radicalisation and into violent acts and into terrorism. In terms of the Prevent point of view and the very clear counter-terrorism aspect of the strategy that we have identified, that work will be done in a number of ways. In the Prevent strategy, we set out how we will deal with issues such as the internet and the use of the internet to radicalise people, but it will also be done through work with individuals who are identified as vulnerable.

I am very disappointed at the tone that the Home Secretary has adopted today. She has been extremely partisan in her comments. It is very easy to talk tough on these issues, but what practical support will she give to women and to young Muslims to develop the skills and confidence to tackle that pernicious ideology? In particular, what will she do about the £4.2 million that the research, information and communications unit in the Home Office spent last year? It is supposed to be developing a counter-narrative, but I for one have not seen one useful piece or product of research and information that RICU has produced. At the same time, the money for communities has been slashed, but we have a real responsibility to support people in our communities, so that they have the skills to tackle this pernicious, political ideology that is all too prevalent.

The right hon. Lady is correct to say that it is important to ensure that individuals are able to tackle this perverse ideology, and part of Prevent’s work with individuals will be precisely about that—about enabling people to understand the perversion of the ideology.

In relation to dealing with the wider aspects of community participation and cohesion, however, including looking at the involvement in society more generally, as we would like, of women from particular communities who are often not able or encouraged to do so, the Department for Communities and Local Government is looking at that issue in the integration strategy that it is developing.

We refer to RICU, which was set up under the last Government, in the strategy. I fully accept the right hon. Lady’s point about communication, which is extremely important; that is why we are looking at the role that RICU plays in it.

Does the Home Secretary agree that a clear divide must exist between the measures designed to tackle violent extremism and those designed to promote community cohesion, that funding must be denied to organisations that do not support our basic values in relation to respect for women and minorities, and that the most effective way to confront radical non-violent groups is to tackle their beliefs in open debate?

I certainly agree that we need to challenge the ideology. I also agree that the means by which we deal with violent extremism, or people who are vulnerable to radicalisation towards violent extremism, need to be separated from the wider task of community cohesion and working towards greater participation in society. In the past, people came to look with some concern at what was being done in the name of Prevent because it was trying to mix up those two aspects of work. It is important that we separate out the community cohesion work, which is overseen by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

As somebody who has high regard for the Home Secretary, I, too, express regret that she has chosen to express some of her views in such party political terms. Surely it is right that we seek unity across the House on this issue.

Given that several thousand young Islamists in this country have been through training systems in Pakistan, can the Home Secretary give the House an assurance that that will be borne in mind in future and that the good work that has been carried out in Pakistan under Prevent and associated programmes will not be jettisoned, because it is important for the terrorist activities that take place in this country?

It is certainly the case that a strand of Prevent work takes place overseas and is overseen by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and it is important that that work is properly evaluated and evidence-based so that we ensure that the money is being spent where it can be seen to be properly working. We need to look very carefully at how the money is spent in that area of activity, but we also need to ensure that it continues to take place, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will be doing that. Separately from that, because the Department for International Development does not fund Prevent-related work, the work that DFID does in building up society has an impact in this area as well.

The Home Secretary talked about the dangers from Islamist fundamentalism but did not, I am sure for good reason, mention the dangers from Irish republican terrorism. Could she account for the difficult nexus in terms of intelligence and prevention work on the mainland of the United Kingdom and how this policy will encompass it?

I thank my hon. Friend for raising Northern Ireland-related terrorism. The Prevent strategy that I have outlined specifically does not cover Northern Ireland-related terrorism because it is important that we work through the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and the Northern Ireland Assembly and Ministers there, in looking at these issues. There is a responsibility for this in Northern Ireland, and it would not be right for us to bring Northern Ireland-related terrorism under the Prevent strategy that I have announced. However, certain aspects of the Prevent strategy have some commonality with themes in relation to Northern Ireland-related terrorism, and I am sure that others will draw on that.

I thank the Home Secretary for her statement and for clarifying that point, but will she elaborate on it? Will she confirm that where a dissident republican suspect is found to be operational, active and gathering intelligence here on the mainland, they will come under this policy and will be subject to its restrictions, and, importantly, that they will not be sin-binned back to Northern Ireland but will be restrained here, where they are trying to commit their crime?

I assure the hon. Gentleman that anybody who is identified as being involved in acts of terrorism or preparatory acts of terrorism that are suitable for prosecution under the law will be prosecuted under the law.

I welcome the Home Secretary’s statement. The strategy highlights the targeting of university campuses by extremists for the purposes of radicalising vulnerable students. I noted her concern that some universities are complacent about those risks. Will she give more detail on how the revised Prevent programme will better protect students while not overwhelming universities with excessive burdens?

I am happy to look at that issue. That work has started in a number of ways. The National Union of Students has done good work on the role that it can play to prevent radicalisation on campuses by considering issues such as who is speaking on campuses. We will continue to work with the NUS to develop its approach, including to other university societies. We will also work with university vice-chancellors and staff on this issue. It is certainly not our intention suddenly to overburden universities with red tape. However, we hope that universities are prepared to recognise the role that radicalisation on campuses can play and accept that they have a responsibility to look at what is happening on their campuses.

In the last Parliament, the Communities and Local Government Committee did a report on the previous Government’s Prevent strategy. One criticism that was made to our inquiry, to which the Secretary of State has alluded, is that there was confusion between a strand of the policy that dealt with individuals who were felt to be at risk of becoming involved in terrorism and other policies that were more closely related to social cohesion measures. Is the Home Secretary saying that the first of those issues will be the responsibility of the Home Office and the second the responsibility of the Department for Communities and Local Government? Will there be any links between the two? If there are, how will the policy differ from that of the previous Government?

It is our intention that there will be different responsibilities for those matters. We will allow the Department for Communities and Local Government to identify how it wishes to operate its integration strategy. I believe that hon. Members will hear more from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the wider issues of community cohesion, participation in society and integration in due course. We will bring together a joint board to ensure that all activity takes place against the Government’s overall objectives in this area. I expect that that board will look at the interface between the Prevent strategy and the integration strategy of the Department for Communities and Local Government. We will not label the DCLG work as part of the Prevent strategy, and it will not be part of the counter-terrorism strategy run by the Home Office.

Will my right hon. Friend reassure my constituents in South Ribble that these reforms will ensure that the Prevent programme is properly focused and, above all, more effective than it has been?

I welcome my hon. Friend to the House following her recent illness. It is good to see her back in her seat. It is certainly our intention to monitor how money is spent on Prevent to ensure that it is spent effectively. In looking at the programmes that work, we will ensure that the decisions that are made are fully evidence-based.

In what new ways will the right hon. Lady promote integration? What core values and whose history will now be taught in schools?

The last time I looked, there was a different education system in Scotland, and I reassure the hon. Gentleman that I am not suggesting that I will touch it. However, I think that people across the United Kingdom share a belief in the values of democracy, human rights, equality and the rule of law, and those are the values that we are talking about.

I welcome the teaching of British history in our schools. Will my right hon. Friend reassure the House that the police and security services are content with the new package of proposals?

I am very happy to give my hon. Friend that confirmation. We have of course been talking to the police and the intelligence agencies about the issue, and there will be particular interaction with the police because a significant part of the Prevent money is spent by them. I will write to chief constables and others today to set out the new strategy.

I am glad that the Home Secretary mentioned the extreme right wing. In Stoke-on-Trent, we have dealt with alleged terrorist conspiracies from both Islamic fundamentalists and far-right white fascists. I am also keen on her announcement of actions regarding the internet. Many young British Muslims are heading towards radicalisation via the teachings of Anwar al-Awlaki, gained over the internet. May I urge her to make the security services go on the front foot against some of the stuff that is coming over the internet?

Finally, may I urge the Home Secretary to proceed with caution on defining British values? The history of Britain also involves the denial of democracy, the denial of the rule of law and the denial of equal rights in many nations around the world, and for Home Secretaries to define what is and is not Britishness is treacherous territory.

I of course recognise the experience in Stoke-on-Trent, particularly over the past year, in relation to both terrorist plots of an Islamic nature and the influence and actions of the English Defence League. I would hope that everybody in the House believes in the values to which I referred in my answer to the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart), namely democracy, the rule of law, equality and human rights. Those are the values that we wish to promote.

May I congratulate the Home Secretary on her statement, and say what a breath of fresh air it was to hear some of the things that she said? As she knows, much of the threat to the UK comes via Pakistan. Can she explain how the Government are working with counter-terror agencies to deal with that specific threat?

We work closely with the Government of Pakistan on counter-terrorism matters, and I should put on record in the House, as I believe I have on previous occasions, that in fact the Pakistani people have suffered significant losses to terrorist attacks. Several thousand people have died in Pakistan in recent years as a result of such attacks, and we should never forget what is happening to people living there. Of course, there are considerable links between this country and Pakistan, and as I said, we work closely with the Pakistani Government in examining counter-terrorism issues.

I very much welcome the better targeting of our resources, but will the Home Secretary ensure that projects and schemes that are doing extremely well in inner cities, such as some around the mosque in Lambeth, are protected or at least not arbitrarily thrown away just to save money?

One aspect of the new strategy that we are adopting is a much closer evaluation of the work that is done, so that we can identify precisely the projects that are working well and should continue to be supported. At the same time, we will also identify groups that we feel it is no longer right for the Government to fund.

I thank the Home Secretary for coming to the House again to keep us informed. In Wellingborough prison, the imam is in charge of all the religious affairs. I am sure he is very good, but what checks are made in prisons to ensure that the imams there are not preaching extremism?

My hon. Friend’s question refers back, in a sense, to that asked by my right hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr Davis). In considering how we deal with prisons, we will do much more work to examine exactly what is happening there. We will work with prison governors and staff and with the National Offender Management Service to get better information about what is happening in prisons, which is a key aspect of the strategy. We recognise that more work needs to be done.

I thank the Home Secretary for her statement. In disentangling the issues of trying to create more community cohesion and at the same time trying to deal with terrorism and radicalisation, how can we ensure that there is not a gap through which radicalised young people can emerge? How can we ensure that the policies co-exist and are complementary to each other, not in conflict?

As I indicated earlier, we will take steps to ensure that our policies are complementary across the Government. Importantly, I hope that the integration and community cohesion strategies will encourage people to be willing to identify those young people who they consider to be vulnerable to radicalisation, and who they feel need the support and action of the programmes that are available, to ensure that they do not go down the route to terrorism.

The Home Secretary spoke of the values of our country. It is important to recognise the Christian heritage of those values, so will she recognise the failure of the previous strategy, which diminished the positive contribution of faith-based organisations and distorted their relationships with the Government? I welcome the announcement of the £5 million of near neighbours funding to enable churches to be involved in reaching out to all communities. That is a positive and welcome step.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making the point that it is important that the Government are willing to work with groups from all faiths, to ensure that we use the expertise and ability that faith groups have to reach out into their communities in a way that the Government cannot. As I said, it is important to do that across all faiths.

If I pointed out to the Home Secretary that before 1997, her Conservative predecessor, who was advised by the current Prime Minister, allowed into Britain no fewer than four times Sheikh Qaradawi, the theologian and ideologue of suicide bombing, she would just dismiss it as a political point. All Governments get some of their policies on such things wrong, and she should not have made such a partisan statement.

On a specific point, the University and College Lecturers Union has just repudiated—at its congress last weekend—the EU’s definition of anti-Semitism. That is a highly retrograde step, because that working definition is accepted around the world. The union has given a green light to all those who want to encourage anti-Semitic thinking. Will the Home Secretary and the Education Secretary look into that?

As the right hon. Gentleman may have seen, an Education Minister is sitting on the Treasury Bench. He will have heard that point and I am sure he will raise it with the Education Secretary.

May I warmly welcome the Home Secretary’s statement? Since the terrible bombings of July 2005, it is clear that in some cases self-appointed Islamist groups have used public funds to poison young Muslim minds. Will my right hon. Friend therefore make it absolutely clear that this Government will only work with and fund groups that accept the British way of life, our democracy and our values?

As I made clear in my statement, and as is made clear in the strategy, the Government will not work with or fund groups that hold extremist views.

Does the Home Secretary agree that one key to this strategy is international co-operation with agencies in other countries, particularly in addressing the prevalence of propaganda on the internet? Sharing intelligence across agencies could well get to the source of that problem.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for again raising the internet, which was mentioned in an earlier question. It is important that we look at the use of the internet, and we can do so in a number of ways. The police could take action in relation to some of the things that are put on the internet here, but one of the key things is to work internationally, particularly with the US. Many internet providers are based there rather than here, and are therefore outside UK jurisdiction. We are doing more to talk to the US, and indeed to those companies directly about their responsibilities.

As somebody with an Islamic background, I very much welcome the Secretary of State’s statement. She has announced an excellent and proper way forward to deal with that bizarre, distorted ideology and to promote community cohesion. What representations, if any, have been made to the Governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan on reforming the madrassahs—the religious schools—which have often been a breeding ground for extremism?

I am happy to say to my hon. Friend that that was one of the issues that I discussed with the Pakistan Interior Minister when I visited that country last October.

One problem with the Prevent scheme funding under the previous Administration was the lack of clarity on what the funding was for and which organisations would receive it, and ensuring appropriate outcomes. Will my right hon. Friend ensure not only that a broad range of organisations receive funds, but that those organisations are outcome-based, so that we can clearly evaluate the success or otherwise of the funding?

My hon. Friend makes an important point. It is not good enough for Governments simply to give money to organisations; we need to ensure that it is being effectively used for the purpose for which it was intended. That is why it is important that we establish much clearer evaluation and monitoring of the use of that money.