Brit fighters who joined Isis ‘should never be allowed back in the UK’, Defence Secretary declares
The Defence Secretary has insisted that any Britons who travelled abroad to fight for Islamic State should never be allowed back in the UK.
Gavin Williamson spoke out after the terror laws watchdog said authorities should look to “reintegrate” the “young” and “naive” jihadis who travel to war zones, rather than prosecute them, on their return to the country.
He told the Daily Mail: “I do not believe that any terrorist, whether they come from this country or any other, should ever be allowed back into this country.”
Max Hill QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, spoke of “losing a generation” of men and women by automatically using the courts to punish them.
But Mr Williamson, who last month said he wanted to use drones to take out Brit Isis fighters, said those who were intent on bringing “destruction, death and bloodshed” onto the streets of Britain were being “hunted down” and that threat “eliminated”.
He told the Daily Mail: “A dead terrorist can’t cause any harm to Britain.”
Mr Williamson told the paper the role of jihadis in foreign fields should not be underestimated, with “much of what is done to activate” threats to Britain done in places such as Libya, Iraq and Syria.
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He added: “Our job in terms of eliminating will not stop this year, will not stop next year, it is something we have got to continue to pursue.”
Hundreds of British citizens are known to have travelled to Syria to fight with Islamist groups during the course of the six-year conflict.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is due to deliver a speech on Thursday in which he will praise British efforts around the world to tackle terrorism.
He is set to say: “Every day around the world I can tell you that British serving men and women are putting their lives at risk to roll up terrorist networks, to expose what they are doing, to thwart them and bring them to justice.
“They are making good on what the Prime Minister has rightly called the unconditional commitment of the British people to the security of our European friends, not just in this continent but beyond.’’
On Tuesday, the director general of MI5 told the Cabinet that a total of nine Islamist terrorist plots have been thwarted in the UK over the past year.