1 Lord Wolfson of Tredegar debates involving the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

Extremism Definition and Community Engagement

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Excerpts
Tuesday 19th March 2024

(2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Swinburne Portrait Baroness Swinburne (Con)
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We are just finalising the criteria regarding how this will be measured, what the metrics are, and how the evidence will be compiled and then decided. As and when that happens, we would expect to complete this within weeks and certainly as quickly as we possibly can.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Portrait Lord Wolfson of Tredegar (Con)
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My Lords, the proposition that my enemy’s enemy is my friend is probably one of the most wrong-headed and dangerous in politics. I am proud that over the past few years, when the Jewish community marched first against Mr Corbyn and more recently in favour of and to support Israel, we have absolutely rejected the far-right extremists trying to hijack our demonstrations because they think we have a common opponent. That is a completely wrong-headed and dangerous thing to do, because we all know that, ultimately, all extremists want to take us to the same place: to divide communities and to undermine our democratic process. Does my noble friend the Minister therefore agree that what fundamentally underpins this definition of extremism is a distinction between those who want to work within our democratic process, albeit perhaps to change it, and those who seek to undermine the democratic process, which is the foundation of all civilised debate and safe living for all communities in this country?

Baroness Swinburne Portrait Baroness Swinburne (Con)
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Absolutely. I totally agree with my noble friend; I am sure most people in this House do as well. We are in a period of heightened tensions. Anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hate crime levels are at an all-time high. Flags, symbols and graffiti are all causing division and stoking fear locally, and now is the time to tackle this issue head on. The definition tries to ensure that it focuses on extremism that is founded in hatred, violence or intolerance, and which poses a threat to our rights and our freedoms. It does not matter where it comes from: we need to tackle it and try our best to stop it.