New Forest East




Mr David Heath: … I make a plea to the Home Secretary not to have something that is too bureaucratic or to have hurdles that are impossible for large universities to jump. I have to say that I would be quite incapable of telling a university where I was speaking what I was going to say two weeks in advance – I do not know what I am going to say when I stand up to make a speech.

Dr Julian Lewis: Or even afterwards.

Mr Heath: Indeed. I really do hope that we have something that is workable, that addresses specifically, and on a risk basis, the issues that the Home Secretary seeks to address, and that does not introduce a duty that is inaccessible.

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Richard Fuller: Does the right hon. Lady [Hazel Blears] agree that we should not focus too much on the individual, as it is that individual who is at risk and who cannot put the circumstances into context in making decisions? Secondly, does she agree that communities are dispersing around the country and if we do not equip families to have those conversations, the strategy will not be as effective as it could possibly be, given those changes?

Hazel Blears: I agree, and I do not think that the two are mutually exclusive. We need to tackle individuals and we need action plans for individuals, but individuals live in families and in communities. We therefore need a much more holistic engagement programme.

Dr Julian Lewis: Unfortunately, the right hon. Lady is stepping down as a Member of this House very soon and I only hope that her voice will not be stilled on such topics in other arenas. Does she agree that although there has been a welcome change in that Ministers from the Prime Minister downwards are now talking about the underlying perverted ideology at the root of radicalisation, we need to back up that new rhetoric with arrangements to counter that perverted ideology?

Hazel Blears: My hon. Friend has a proud record of having pursued these issues with such determination and tenacity that he has, perhaps, had no small influence on the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister in talking about the long-term generational struggle and the need to deal with ideology.

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Yasmin Qureshi: … With the [Prevent] regulations being put on a statutory footing, there will be more and more picking on people, which will not help anyone. It will not make anyone safer. If Members think that holding a socially conservative view about particular issues means that people are going to commit suicide and kill everybody around them, Members do not understand the real situation out there. I mean that very respectfully. We are going to have a McCarthyite state where people spy on each other, and that is not right.

People who commit such offences are criminals and should be dealt with. Anybody who saw the two criminals who killed Fusilier Rigby would have seen that they were frothing at the mouth. It is clear that they were mental. Many educational psychologists and others who have studied people who become radicalised and commit criminal offences say that those people are often educationally deprived, economically deprived and have mental health issues. It is those issues that we should address. Concentrating on Prevent will not stop all the problems. Whatever is happening internationally and what those people are doing will continue.

Dr Lewis: I appreciate the passion with which the hon. Lady is making her point and I agree with a lot of what she says about the fact that the people who commit those terrible crimes are unbalanced and unstable. That was true of the criminals who killed Lee Rigby, but it is precisely because they were unbalanced and unstable that they were susceptible to a particular extreme interpretation of a religious ideology. Therefore the two things interact. It is not quite as simple as she says.

Yasmin Qureshi: I do not agree with that. One of the murderers of Fusilier Rigby quoted “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. That comes from the Old Testament, not from the Koran. We cannot start saying that this is somehow linked with religious ideology. These are just confused, mentally disturbed people.

Dr Lewis rose –

Yasmin Qureshi: I am sorry, but I have only a little time, and I have something to say that is different from what everybody else has said, so I would like to be able to take the opportunity to say it.