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Politics – Counter-extremism fog

August 2016

A leading Parliamentary committee has been left ‘none the wiser’ about government efforts to crack down on extremism, despite a Home Office minister appearing in front of them to explain it.

Karen Bradley was facing the Joint Committee on Human Rights as the government prepares a consultation on its plans. Ms Bradley, a counter-extremism minister, appeared before parliamentarians, but failed to give any specific details on multiple issues.

After the hearing, Harriet Harman, who chairs the committee, concluded: ‘We don’t know what civil orders are being talked about. We don’t know what the sanctions are likely to be. We don’t know what the definitions are. We have no specificity about the timetable, in terms of when the consultation will start, and how long it will be.

‘We know there won’t be a draft bill, but we really are none the wiser about anything else’.

A statement from the Christian Institute, one of many parties in the ‘Defend Free Speech’ campaign, said the campaign has often warned Whitehall’s anti-extremism plans threaten free speech.

One of the MPs on the committee, Karen Buck, suggested a lack of definitions would make the consultation meaningless, and said the government’s intentions are ‘broad, nebulous and subjective’.

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