As the new Conservative government takes shape, there will be interest in the Party’s plans to tackle the fomenting of extremism. Teresa May announced, in the month before the election, that measures would be introduced to deal with ‘entryist’ subversion of organisations (see our previous item here). The relevant section of the Conservative manifesto states:
“Dealing with these threats is not just about new powers. It is about how we combat extremism in all its forms. We need to tackle it at root, before it takes the form of violence and terror. At the heart of our approach lies an uncompromising defence of British values, and a very simple message~: in Britain you do not just enjoy the freedom to live how you choose; you have a responsibility to respect others too.
“We have strengthened counter-terrorism laws, including making it easier to stop British nationals travelling abroad to fight, and control the return of those who do. We will keep up to date the ability of the police and security services to access communications data – the ‘who, where, when and how’ of a communication, but not its content. Our new communications data legislation will strengthen our ability to disrupt terrorist plots, criminal networks and organized child grooming gangs, even as technology develops. We will maintain the ability of the authorities to intercept the content of suspects’ communications, while continuing to strengthen oversight of the use of these powers.
“We have already reformed the Prevent strategy so that it focuses on non-violent as well as violent extremism. We will now go even further. We will outlaw groups that foment hate with the introduction of new Banning Orders for extremist organisations. These could be applied to dangerous organisations that fall short of the existing thresholds for proscription under terrorism legislation. To restrict the harmful activities of extremist individuals, we will create new Extremism Disruption Orders. These new powers might, for instance, prevent those who are seeking to radicalise young British people online from using the internet or communicating via social media. We will develop a strategy to tackle the infiltration of extremists into our schools and public services. We will strengthen Ofcom’s role so that tough measures can be taken against channels that broadcast extremist content. We will enable employers to check whether an individual is an extremist and bar them from working with children. And we will take further measures to ensure colleges sand universities do not give a platform to extremist speakers.”