Rishi Sunak wants to add people who oppose UK’s ‘very existence’ to list of extremists
Rishi Sunak wants to add people who oppose the country’s “very existence” to a list of extremists where he to become Prime Minister, sources in his camp have briefed the press.
But a former senior police chief has warned that the proposals made by the former Chancellor as part of a bid to toughen the UK’s anti-terrorism Prevent strategy risked “straying into thought crimes”.
According to the Telegraph newspaper, “sources in the Sunak camp said he believed extremists did not just want to attack the UK’s values but also the country’s very existence”.
The plans included widening the “definition of extremism to include people who vilify the country”. Rishi Sunak pledged to focus on “rooting out those who are vocal in their hatred of our country”.
That would not include criticism of the Uk Government’s policies, his camp said, but may raise fears that such a change would have a chilling effect on the activities of those who sought to break up the UK.
Counter-terrorism chief Sir Peter Fahy, who was also chief constable of Greater Manchester police, told The Guardian that “vilification” could be far too broad a brush to define extremism.
“The widening of Prevent could damage its credibility and reputation. It makes it more about people’s thoughts and opinions.
“It is straying into thought crimes and political opinions.
“Political opposition is not where police should be, it is those who pose a serious threat and risk of violence, not those opposed to political systems.”
Rishi Sunak’s new policy announcement comes as he and leadership rival Liz Truss are set to conduct the latest in a string of hustings in Cardiff today.
Sunak is attempting to claw his way back into the leadership race, after a YouGov poll suggested that 60% of party members said they will vote for the foreign secretary Liz Truss to succeed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.
Just 26% said they would support Sunak, with the rest not having made up their minds.
53% of members also said that Conservative Ministers and MPs were wrong to force Boris Johnson to resign.
Supporters of Sunak however told the Times who conducted the poll that it was “notoriously difficult” to sample Tory members accurately.
A campaign source said: “We’re fighting for every vote, getting Rishi’s message out to the members, and the country and the reception he’s getting on the ground is really positive.”
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