Some Muslims ‘want to challenge British values’, says minister

<span>Anne-Marie Trevelyan said that ‘the vast proportion of British Muslims are wonderful, peace-loving, community-minded people’.</span><span>Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images</span>
Anne-Marie Trevelyan said that ‘the vast proportion of British Muslims are wonderful, peace-loving, community-minded people’.Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A Foreign Office minister has claimed some Muslims in Britain “want to challenge” fundamental UK values.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan was responding to widely criticised comments made by Nigel Farage, the honorary president of Reform UK, who said on Sunday there was a growing proportion of people in the UK who “loathe much of what we stand for”.

Farage explicitly identified Muslims when challenged on the remarks, claiming polls showed 46% of British Muslims supported the terror organisation Hamas.

Asked if she agreed with him, Trevelyan told LBC Radio there were some Muslims who matched that description. She said: “The vast proportion of British Muslims are wonderful, peace-loving, community-minded people, certainly in the north-east where I’m based, we have fantastic communities and they are a really important part of our social fabric.

“There are a very small proportion for whom they want to challenge those values that we hold dear in the UK, which are British values, and there we need to continue to work in community to bring those people to this.

“The UK has incredible values of freedom of speech, freedom of choice … these are incredibly important values, but they have to be nurtured and looked after, and where there are those who would threaten them we need to make sure that we deal with that.”

Bridget Phillipson, the shadow education secretary, said Farage’s claim was “incendiary rhetoric”. She told the same station: “What we need in this election is a sense of how we bring our country together, how we focus on a more positive and hopeful mission for what our country can be – not this kind of division.”

Trevelyan has also used media appearances to defend her party’s newly announced national service policy, insisting that Operation Interflex – the UK programme that has trained tens of thousands of Ukrainian recruits – demonstrates the country has the capacity to rapidly house the 30,000 young people the government has said would be pushed into military service.

Trevelyan also said the scheme would be compulsory in the same way as was staying in education or training until 18.

Asked on Times Radio whether parents would face prosecution if their 18-year-olds refused to sign up for the military or volunteering activity, she said: “I’m not going to write the detailed policy now. That’s what a royal commission programme of works will be for.”