Theresa May ‘to push ahead on extremism plans’

Prime Minister Theresa May will continue with plans to combat non-violent extremists, The Times newspaper has reported.

The counter-extremism Bill remains a “key priority” for the Prime Minister, it said, despite officials struggling to find a “definition of extremism that does not affect legitimate debate”.

According to the newspaper, the Home Office has said draft legislation will be presented to Parliament in May.

‘Passively tolerant’

Campaigners are opposed to plans within the expected legislation because of concerns they will stifle free speech.

In 2015 the Government included plans to ‘tackle extremism’ in the Queen’s Speech and this year’s Speech noted that proposals to crackdown on ‘extremists’ would be consulted on.

Setting out the Government’s intentions in 2015, former Prime Minister David Cameron stated: “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.”

He then promised: “This Government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach.”


This week, the Defend Free Speech campaign said Anjem Choudary’s conviction under the Terrorism Act showed that current legislation was sufficient.

Campaign Director Simon Calvert said: “What we have seen with the conviction of this dangerous individual is that existing legislation can be used effectively to target those who incite others to join terrorist organisations and take up arms against their country.”

Mr Calvert stated that the case does not show why the Government needs a broad law that could “potentially criminalise many ordinary people who hold traditional or strong views”.

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