Cameron calls on all parties to back anti-terrorist measures


The prime minister has described the task of rooting out extremism in the UK as "work for us all".

His comments came during a statement to the Commons on 3 June 2013, in which he updated the House on the government's response to the death of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich last month.

Speaking about the radicalisation of young Muslims, he said: "We need to dismantle this process at every stage - in schools, colleges, universities, on the internet, in our prisons, wherever it is taking place."

A new taskforce has been set up by the government, which he specified would focus on:

  • rules regulating charities and whether are too lax
  • ways to disrupt groups that incite hatred or violence
  • the problem of extremist groups in universities
  • support for madrassas and mosques to prevent radicalisation.

Opposition leader Ed Miliband welcomed the prime minister's words, stating: "British people know this attack did not represent the true values of any community, including Muslim communities who contribute so much to our country."

But he pushed David Cameron on whether the fight against terrorism would mean passing laws to give government greater powers to monitor people's communications.

The Home Affairs Committee chair, Labour's Keith Vaz, called for tighter controls to be exercised by internet service providers and search engines, whom he accused of being "far too laidback" about removing extremist content.

'Snoopers' charter'

Another member of the Home Affairs Committee, Lib Dem Julian Huppert, cautioned against implementing what he described as a "snoopers' charter", which would, he said, "treat us all as suspects".

Conservative MP Ben Wallace said: "When our security services and police are trying to piece together a terrorist attack they need to pore over communications data to find out who, where and when events were planned."

Mr Cameron claimed that "there is a problem" because "some 95% of serious crimes involve the use of communications data".

"We need to address this problem, we should address it in a sensitive and careful way, we should look at all the non-legislative options there are, but I hope we can have a measure of cross-party support on all sides of the House to try and get this right because we will suffer if we don't," he argued.

A communications data bill, allowing the monitoring of all UK citizens' internet use, was dropped after a split in the coalition.

In the same statement, Mr Cameron informed MPs about the latest European Council meeting, which resulted in the embargo being lifted for supplying arms to the official Syrian opposition.

He spoke of the importance of creating a "clear sense that Assad cannot fight his way to victory", despite Mr Miliband's concern that "the danger of this course of action is that it will lead to further escalation".

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