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Extremist Views

Volume 663: debated on Monday 15 July 2019

Our £63 million “Building a Stronger Britain Together” programme provides funding to local community groups that seek to challenge extremist views. Since 2016, we have supported more than 230 civil society groups, which have access to training opportunities and a network of 40 expert counter-extremism community co-ordinators who are embedded in local authorities.

What more can the Government do to publicise those important examples of where communities and community organisations have succeeded in the supply of information that has prevented terrorist plots, saved innocent lives and helped to take people who were at risk of radicalisation away from extremist doctrines?

My right hon. friend is absolutely right to raise this issue. We have often talked at the Dispatch Box about, for example, the importance of the Prevent programme, which is fundamentally about safeguarding and supporting vulnerable individuals to stop them becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. My right hon. Friend may be interested to know that in just one year, 2017-18, our Channel safeguarding programme supported some 394 individuals, and 181 different community projects that have reached 88,000 different people.

The Home Secretary really should be ashamed of himself. If he comes to a place such as Huddersfield and other towns in West Yorkshire, which my right hon. Friend the Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) has just mentioned, he will find that it is about not only diverting young people from violence, gangs and crime, but tackling extremist views early on. If the Government dismantle local government youth services, they cannot just pass the responsibility across to community associations and think that is okay.

The hon. Gentleman should know that we have done a great deal since 2000 to support community projects, including youth community projects. I mentioned earlier the £63 million that we put into the “Building a Stronger Britain Together” programme. That is through the Home Office alone, but much more is going on through the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Education and local government. He mentions Huddersfield. Just last week, I had the pleasure of meeting a young man called Jamal, who was the victim of racism, a form of extremism, in the hon. Gentleman’s own constituency. I had the opportunity to welcome him to our great country and to tell him that what happened to him in Huddersfield in no way represents the people of our great nation.

No, no, no; the right hon. Gentleman is ahead of himself. He is working on the basis that we always stick to time, which is not an unreasonable assumption except that it suffers from the disadvantage in factual terms of being wrong.