People who vilify Britain will be treated as extremists under Rishi Sunak plan

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People who vilify Britain will be treated as extremists under Rishi Sunak plan
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Those who speak extreme hatred toward the UK will be treated as extremists and referred to the government’s deradicalisation programme Prevent under plans from Rishi Sunak.

The Tory leadership candidate plans to widen the definition of extremism to include those with an “extreme hatred of Britain”.

People who display hatred through speech or writing would be referred to Prevent programme, Mr Sunak pledged.

“Whether redoubling our efforts to tackle Islamist extremism or rooting out those who are vocal in their hatred of our country, I will do whatever it takes to fulfil that duty,” he said on Tuesday night.

“Britain is a beacon of freedom, tolerance and diversity. We must never let those who seek to undermine and destroy our way of life to succeed.”

The former Chancellor’s team clarified that the changes would not include criticism of the government or any government policy, and was not legally binding.

Mr Sunak also announced proposals to “refocus” Prevent onto Islamic extremism as the biggest threat to the security of the UK.

Rishi Sunak at Tory husting in Exeter (Getty Images)
Rishi Sunak at Tory husting in Exeter (Getty Images)

An initial review of the Prevent programme criticised the policy for focusing too much on far-right extremism.

Extremism is defined in the 2011 Prevent strategy as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”, as well as calls for the death of armed forces personnel.

Sunak’s team vowed to broaden that out to include “vilification of the UK” to ensure “those with an extreme hatred of our country that leads them to pose a risk to national security can be identified and diverted away from a destructive path”, the Guardian reports.

The policy announcement comes as the Conservative Party delayed sending out ballot papers to members over security concerns.

Rishi Sunak appears to have lost ground in the Tory leadership race, with a YouGov poll putting Liz Truss well ahead of Mr Sunak in support from party members, with her lead increasing to 34 points.

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