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Sunak warns that extremist forces are ‘trying to tear us apart’

01 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak giving a press conference in Downing Street. Photo James Manning/PA Wire

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak used a Friday evening address to warn that democracy is being targeted by extremists.

Mr Sunak said there are “forces here at home trying to tear us apart”.

Speaking at a lectern outside the doors of No 10 Downing Street, Mr Sunak warned about the current situation in Britain, in the aftermath of the October 7 attacks by Hamas against Israel.

George Galloway

And he said the victory of George Galloway in the Rochdale by-election was “beyond alarming”.

“In recent weeks and months, we have seen a shocking increase in extremist disruption and criminality,” he said in a hastily arranged address to the nation.

“What started as protests on our streets have descended into intimidation, threats and planned acts of violence.

“Jewish children, fearful to wear their school uniform lest it reveals their identity. Muslim women abused in the street for the actions of a terrorist group they have no connection with.

“Now our democracy itself is a target. Council meetings and local events have been stormed. MPs do not feel safe in their homes. Long-standing parliamentary conventions have been upended because of safety concerns.

“And it’s beyond alarming that last night, the Rochdale by-election returned a candidate that dismisses the horror of what happened on October 7, who glorifies Hezbollah and is endorsed by Nick Griffin, the racist former leader of the BNP.”

In his victory speech, newly elected Rochdale MP George Galloway announced that his win was “for Gaza” following a campaign dominated by the conflict.

Mr Sunak, in a message aimed at those taking part in pro-Palestine protests, urged people to reject extremist messages.

Protest

The Conservative Party leader said: “I want to speak directly to those who choose to continue to protest: don’t let the extremists hijack your marches.

“You have a chance in the coming weeks to show that you can protest decently, peacefully and with empathy for your fellow citizens.

“Let us prove these extremists wrong and show them that even when we disagree, we will never be disunited.”

He said a line has to be drawn so that while people should be able to “march and protest with passion” in support of Gaza, demonstrators “cannot call for violent jihad”, justify the actions of Palestinian militant group Hamas — a proscribed group in the UK, which bans any show of support — or “call for the eradication of a state or any kind of hatred or antisemitism”.

The Prime Minister confirmed he has met senior police chiefs to tell them the public expected the pro-Palestine protests to be policed rather than simply managed.

“I say this to the police, we will back you when you take action,” he said.

He said those instructions to police would be backed up by further action from the Government.

What he called a “new robust framework” would be introduced to “ensure we are dealing with the root cause of this problem”, the Prime Minister said.

Mr Sunak said ministers would redouble their support for the anti-terrorism Prevent programme, demand universities stop extremist activity on campus and act to prevent people from entering the country whose “aim is to undermine its values”.

He also said Home Secretary James Cleverly has instructed that those in the UK on visas who choose to “spew hate” will have their right to be in the country removed.

“You cannot be part of our civil life if your agenda is to tear it down,” he warned.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Is this the same little Modi who keeps Bully XL Ministers like ‘Lee’, Braverman, Jenrick and now Cleverly, who is making a move on free speech and the ability to voice it…

Alan Jones
Alan Jones
1 month ago

“Extremist forces tearing us apart”. Yes, and they’re all in the tory party.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
1 month ago
Reply to  Alan Jones

Sadly not all in the Tory party as I’m pretty sure that Starmer and his acolytes are cut from the very same cloth and are more than incidentally responsible for the way that protest has increased. The powers that be talk about extremism, but the clamp down is on all protest, whether that be peaceful or not. No one wanting legal, constitutional change wants to encourage violent disorder, and it is only a tiny minority who are responsible for this kind of disorder. I doubt whether their numbers are any greater than previously but anything will be grasped by a… Read more »

CapM
CapM
1 month ago

I had to laugh when Rishi said he owed this country a lot.
Yeah both you and your wife with your avoidance of millions in tax.

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

talking about farmers isn’t he.

eh? Not farmers?

oh, i see didn’t mean them.

braverman still in the party. How are the far right think tanks that advice the pm doing. Is Liz Truss hobnobbing with US racists and the likes of farage ok?

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeff
Jon_S
Jon_S
1 month ago

No, the lyric goes “love will tear us apart”. See, you never can trust a Tory.

Valerie Matthews
Valerie Matthews
1 month ago

He is obviously referring to today’s Tory Party! Cannot get more ‘extreme’ than they are! Stupid little ignoramous!

Jim1
Jim1
1 month ago

Laying the Churchill-esque foundations for a hot NATO engagement ? Did Macron spill the flageolets?

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
1 month ago

The Tories love nothing more than trying to stoke division. Undoubtedly, Sunak thinks it could be another vote winner, as desperate as he is. The reason Galloway won is because the voters were really left with no choice and he’s a well known figure. Labour stuck with their discredited candidate and the Tories are in freefall they were never going to win.

Andrew Lye
Andrew Lye
1 month ago

Rishi… look at some of the ultra right wingers in your own party, who have gone rogue. Braverman, Truss, Anderson
And you and your cabal have failed to call out Lee Anderson as Islamophobic. Yet you are quick go call out Labour MP’s for antisemitism.
Get your OWN house in order before preaching to the nation.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
1 month ago

The tories are some of the worst hypocrites ever – when 30p lee used racist language referring to Sadiq Khan we had grant shapps (or is his surname green?) pontificate about freedom of speech but when the protestors peacefully demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza chant freedom for Palestinians they are labelled as marches of hate! (The protestors are from various religions; Jews, Muslims, Christian and others along with those of no religion). The people that are truly divisive and sowing seeds of hatred are, as others have pointed out, the tories. The world would be a better place without… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

The extremism all started with his party. It began the day they copied the right wing in America, in the way the messaged the electorate. Copying the Trump play book, demonising immigrants, now full on racist remarks from 30p and Braverman, we even had retweet Davies, posting up to 30 tweets a day with his @SovietWales, or @CommunistWales and the like. With the Labour leadership farce in Cardiff, and the toxic Tory’s, Tice claiming electoral fraud in Rochdale, its falling apart, and we need independence now.

Charles
Charles
1 month ago

The UK has been disunited for many years and thus is due to the right wing, divisive policies of the Conservative Party.

Lord Custard
Lord Custard
1 month ago

Yet it is his own party’s austerity policies have killed far more people than terrorists in the UK. The University of Glasgow produced an academic study showing that there were “330,000 additional deaths between 2012 and 2019 – prior to the Covid pandemic – reflecting an increase in people dying prematurely after experiencing reduced income, ill-health, poor nutrition and housing, and social isolation.” The consensus amongst economists is that austerity didn’t actually benefit the economy at all. Now Hunt (having learnt the square root of zero from his time dismantling the NHS), is about to inflict Austerity 2.0 to pay… Read more »

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago

I get the impression that he’s getting in his excuses for his forthcoming electoral defeat early.

First you sow seeds of doubt in the electoral process and then when you lose you challenge the result on the grounds that the electoral process was ‘rigged’ or ‘hijacked’ in some way. Straight from the Trump playbook.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

Sunak’s speech did nothing except feed Galloway’s ego.

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