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“UK is a passively tolerant society”; David Cameron

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Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 06:01 GMT, May 13, 2015 |
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David Cameron is to set out a string of new powers to tackle radicalization, saying the UK has been a “passively tolerant society” for too long. The PM will tell the National Security Council a counter-extremism bill will be in the Queen’s Speech on 27 May. The bill will include new immigration rules, powers to close down premises used by extremists and “extremism disruption orders”. Mr Cameron will say a “poisonous” extremist ideology must be confronted. The proposals were first set out by Home Secretary Theresa May before the general election.

But the Conservatives were unable to secure the backing of their then Liberal Democrat coalition partners for the measures. There is likely to be some opposition in the new Parliament on the grounds that some of the plans could infringe people’s right to free speech, Uk media said.

The measures are also expected to introduce banning orders for extremist organizations who use hate speech in public places, but whose activities fall short of it being proscribed as a terror group. According to details given by Mrs May at last year’s Conservative Party conference, such orders would apply if ministers “reasonably believe” a group intended to incite religious or racial hatred, to threaten democracy, or if there was a pressing need to protect the public from harm, either from a risk of violence, public disorder, harassment or other criminal acts.

The granting of a ban, which would be subject to immediate review by the High Court, would make membership or funding of the organization concerned a criminal offence. The extreme disruption orders could be imposed on individuals, using the same criteria. Ministers responded by introducing new orders that can block British fighters from returning to the UK and give police the power to seize the passports of people suspected of plotting to join the fighting abroad. Mrs May will tell the National Security Council – which meets weekly and is chaired by the prime minister – that the government will empower institutions to “challenge bigotry and ignorance”. Mr Cameron will say the new powers will make it harder for people to promote extremist views. “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone’,” he will say.

“It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance.” The Conservative government will “conclusively turn the page on this failed approach,” he will add, saying the UK must confront “head-on the poisonous Islamist extremist ideology”.