EDM 425 and the Prevent Strategy

Thank you for writing to me about EDM 425 and the Prevent Strategy.

I agree that the Prevent Strategy is not fit to protect the UK or its citizens, that there exists little evidence which the supports this strategy or the conveyor belt theory of radicalisation, and that there is no evidence showing this strategy has been successful. Moreover, the Prevent strategy has had a worrying impact on freedom of expression at schools, colleges and universities as it polices people’s behaviour based on indicators of possible extremism that are vague and unhelpful.

I understand, and am deeply concerned, that British Muslim community has been particularly stigmatised by the Prevent Strategy. I believe that all Britons deserve to feel safe and welcome in their communities, regardless of race, religion, or national origin. I share your fears that the Prevent Strategy is building a climate of suspicion and distrust, and I also worry that there is a feeling in some quarters that the Muslim community is being unfairly targeted and monitored. I therefore believe that there should be a cross-party review of the Prevent Strategy, to look into how it is working in practice.

Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights recommended in July this year that there should be an independent review of Prevent before the Government push ahead with any new legislation in this area. The Home Affairs Select Committee has also stated that "the Government must be more transparent about what it is doing on the Prevent Strategy", and recommended that an independent panel be appointed to review aspects of Prevent.

We need to ensure our counter-terrorism laws are robust, fair and effective and I hope the Government will keep them under close review. The best way for this country to ultimately tackle extremism is by encouraging the Government to partner with communities and stakeholders in order to cultivate a genuine trust and appreciation; the Prevent Strategy has not done this.

I thank you for taking the time to write to me about the Prevent Strategy. I will continue to press the Conservative Government when this issue is further debated in Parliament.