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Volume 626: debated on Monday 3 July 2017

We will establish a commission for countering extremism to reinforce current efforts to tackle extremist ideology in all its forms wherever it occurs. Already, through the 2015 counter-extremism strategy, we have taken steps to protect children from the threat of extremism, taken action on hate crime, and provided protective support for places of worship. We are also supporting civil society groups to tackle extremism in their communities.

I thank the Minister for that answer. Ten years ago last week we saw the terrorist attack on Glasgow airport, and since then we have sadly seen instances of extremism and terrorism in Walsall, Exeter, Manchester, Yorkshire, and of course here in London. What is being done with the devolved Administrations, as well the combined authorities and regions, to ensure that extremism, and therefore terrorism, has no place in the United Kingdom?

I very much welcome my hon. Friend to his place. I am sure he is going to make a significant contribution here at Home Office questions, as well as serving his constituents. He is quite right to point out that there is simply no place in our society for extremism or terrorism. In launching the counter-extremism strategy in 2015, the Government agreed with the devolved Administrations that they were not going to be part of the strategy at the time, but we continue to work with them. As we carry on working with them on setting up the commission for countering extremism, we will consult them widely. It is very important that we work together and learn together to keep the whole of the United Kingdom safe.

Last year, Twitter suspended 125,000 accounts that were linked to global terrorism, but millions of videos of such material remain on the internet. In Germany, companies can be fined up to £43 million for failing to take down illegal videos. When do the Government intend to introduce legislation of that kind?

The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to point out the vile hatred that is being spread on the internet. I am pleased to report that the action we are taking is regularly enabling thousands of images to be taken down. We leave no stone unturned, and the Home Secretary is working closely with all the bodies responsible for the internet to make sure that we take more action to remove every vile piece of hatred from it.

Will the Minister set out what the Government are doing to tackle anti-Semitism on campus, where the activities of hard-line groups often create an intolerant and intimidatory atmosphere for Jewish students?

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise the issue of anti-Semitism. There is no room at all in our society for hatred of anyone based on their faith, race or ideology. The Government have put a safeguarding responsibility on universities and schools to make sure that they protect young people from being exposed to vile hatred and radicalisation.

May I press the Minister on the answer she gave to the former Chair of the Home Affairs Committee, my right hon. Friend the Member for Leicester East (Keith Vaz)? Social media giants remain the command and control platform of choice for extremists. I wrote to the Home Secretary on 29 March to ask whether she was considering similar laws to those in Germany and in Ireland, where a new watchdog is being created to police social media giants, or indeed proposals similar to those in the US Senate, such as the Feinstein Bill, which would require social media giants to report terrorism content. Governments around the world are taking action; when will this Government follow suit?

I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that the Government are taking action by leading the international efforts to make sure that internet platforms take their responsibilities seriously. The Home Secretary has made it absolutely clear that nothing is off the table. We are considering all options to make sure that the vile ideology and hatred that is pumped around the internet is stopped as soon as possible.

18. Maajid Nawaz is a former constituent of mine whom I once visited in prison in Cairo, where he was being held because of alleged terrorist activities. Is my hon. Friend aware that he has completely turned his life around and is the founder of Quilliam, an organisation dedicated to tackling extremism in the UK? (900133)

That is really good news. Of course, the Government want to work with the Quilliam Foundation and any other organisation that seeks to stand up to extremism and terrorism and fight against evil ideology, to keep us all safe in our country.

I thank the Home Secretary for her welcome.

A working and workable definition of what extremism means is central to any effective strategy for tackling extremism. Can the Minister assure me that the new commission set up to tackle extremism will construct a definition that is not only statutorily robust but will be able to withstand the scrutiny of the courts?

I not only welcome the hon. Gentleman to his place but very much welcome his views. The whole purpose of setting up the counter-extremism commission is to see what more we can do and what further steps we can take. I think we all understand what our shared British values are, and our strategy is making good progress. Of course, one of the commission’s actions will be to look at the definition that the hon. Gentleman mentions.