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Anti-radicalisation Programmes

Volume 594: debated on Monday 23 March 2015

We continually monitor and evaluate the Channel programme to ensure its effectiveness. Through the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 we have placed the programme on a statutory basis. The duty aims to secure local co-operation and delivery in all areas and we, of course, work closely with international partners to make sure that we are sharing expertise and best practice in tackling extremism and radicalisation. I have today published the latest annual report on our counter-terrorism strategy, Contest, alongside the annual report on the serious and organised crime strategy, and copies of both reports will be made available in the Vote Office.

How many people returning from Syria have gone through the deradicalisation programme, and how many people in total have gone through that programme?

More than 2,000 people have gone through Channel since it was rolled out nationally in 2012, and hundreds have been offered support. This is dealt with case by case. It is not appropriate for everybody to be put into the Channel programme, but it has been effective and we are seeing significant numbers of people referred to it.

I welcome my right hon. Friend bringing clarity about what is and what is not acceptable in the context of radicalisation and extremism. In an environment where our press and media are prone to hysterics and have the capacity to achieve the objectives of the enemies of our society by sowing fear and anxiety where none need exist, will she continue to proceed calmly and on the basis of the evidence?

My hon. Friend makes a very important point about proceeding on the basis of the evidence. I am grateful for his comments about remarks that I made earlier today about the necessity for us to develop a wider partnership to counter extremism across its broadest spectrum so that we can deal with the hateful beliefs that the extremists are propagating.

I too welcome the Home Secretary’s comments in her speech this morning. Only by working with communities are we able to tackle this problem. I also commend the Metropolitan police and Turkish authorities for bringing back to London the three young men from Brent. It is sad that we missed the opportunity of doing this with the four young girls from Bethnal Green. What is the message to families to get them to report areas of concern so that they do not feel stigmatised if they do so?

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his comments about my speech. He is right. As I made clear in that speech, Government cannot deal with this alone; we need to work with families, communities and civil society. The message that the Government have given to families consistently in relation to those who might be travelling to Syria to get involved in terrorist-related activity, or to be with terrorist groups, is that the sooner they can give information to the authorities, the easier it is to work with them to ensure that their young people are not put into that danger.

In the all-party group on Islamophobia we have heard countless times of the need to offer more support to the mothers of young Muslims who fear that their children might be in danger of being radicalised. What specific efforts are being made to support the mothers who are tackling this issue?

My hon. Friend makes a very important point. I am pleased to have been involved with two civil society organisations that have been working with families—particularly, in one case, with women. FAST—Families Against Stress and Trauma—is giving support to families whose young people may have travelled and helping them to prevent young people from travelling. Inspire’s “Making A Stand” programme is about Muslim women up and down this country saying that radicalisation is not taking place in their name, and working together as Muslim women to ensure that their young people are not radicalised.

The Home Secretary said this morning, and has just reiterated, that she wants a new partnership on Prevent between communities, individuals, civil society and Government. When she came into government, she inherited 93 Prevent areas, which she cut to 23 and then put up to 30. She now says she wants 50, and they might go up to 90, so we are going back to where we started five years ago. Why the rollercoaster in such an important area for this country?

No, we are not going back to where we started. First, the hon. Lady has made a fundamental mistake in her question in saying that my speech this morning related to Prevent. It did not; it related to the new counter-extremism strategy that the Government are introducing. Secondly, when we came into government we found that the Labour Government were funding extremist organisations, and members of the Labour party were standing on platforms embracing extremist hate preachers. Government Members take a very different view.