Dawn Butler announces independent review to combat rise of far-right extremism

Elliot Chappell

Dawn Butler has used her conference speech to announce that a Labour government will commission an independent review into the threat of far-right extremism.

The Home Office is currently dealing with an increased number of cases of suspected right-wing extremists, with the figure rising from 968 in 2016-17 to 1,312 in 2017-18. A quarter of all terrorism arrests in the past year were linked to far-right violence.

The Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary’s announcement follows comments from security experts like Neil Basu, the Met assistant commissioner, who said last week that the fastest growing UK terrorist threat is from the far-right.

Labour’s review will look at how far-right language has affected public and media discourse, including on social media, how they have been promoted and evolved, their funding streams and how they’ve managed to organise internationally to promote their messages.

Butler set out her plan for the review this afternoon, saying: “We will look to tackle the rise of the far-right, launching this independent review into the spread of hard right extremism. The next Labour government will unite our country with positive policies and protect those communities at risk from those who seek to divide us.”

She also slammed the Prime Minister on his record for fraternising with the far-right, telling conference: “Labour want what’s best for our country, but not everyone has that intention. We now have a Prime Minister who the far-right regard as their leader, who garners the support of the like of Tommy Robinson.”

Westminster recently saw far-right protesters chanting “we love you Boris” at a Brexit rally, and between writing columns stating that Muslim women look like criminals and throwing around phrases like “surrender bill”, many have voiced concerns about Boris Johnson’s conduct.

A United Nations report into racism, discriminatory policies, xenophobia and intolerance in Britain highlighted that sustained and pervasive discourses vilifying Islam and Muslims exist in the British media and among politicians.

The report recommended that the government take concrete steps to improve accountability for all acts of racial discrimination and xenophobia, ensuring that allegations of such acts are thoroughly investigated, prosecuted and punished.

Labour has made clear that the proposed review will make recommendations to the government and relevant agencies on how to tackle the spread of far-right extremism.

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