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Top Stories: Home Secretary Calls For Reform Of Anti-Terrorism Programme, Cabinet Reshuffle Receives Mixed Reviews

Suella Braverman has called for reform of the government's anti-terrorism programme (parliamentlive.tv)

4 min read

The home secretary has called for a major upheaval of the government's flagship counter-extremism programme, Prevent.

Suella Braverman has said she wants to implement changes to Prevent following a major independent review into the programme which was published on Wednesday.

She accused the current Prevent programme of "cultural timidity and an institutional hesitancy to tackle Islamism for fear of the charge of Islamophobia" and insisted that anti-terrorism policy should focus on security more than "political correctedness".

Braverman said: "Prevent will now ensure it focuses on the key threat of Islamist terrorism. As part of this more proportionate approach, we will also remain vigilant on emerging threats, including on the extreme right.

"This independent review has identified areas where real reform is required. This includes a need for Prevent to better understand Islamist ideology, which underpins the predominant terrorist threat facing the UK."

The Home Secretary said she will "swiftly implement" all 34 recommendations from the report to the programme. 

Recommendations include a closer relationship between MI5 and Prevent bosses to allow better consideration of the wider terrorism threat by those who run the scheme.

Security minister Tom Tugendhat said: "This government will always protect the British people – whether from the threat posed by terrorism, or from the hateful ideologies that underpin it.

"Ultimately, every community in our country deserves protection from threat of radicalisation and the violence that it brings."

Addressing Parliament, Braverman referred to the murders of MPs David Amess and Jo Cox as examples of ideological terrorism and the threat it poses to UK society. 

Cabinet reshuffle receives mixed reviews

Lee Anderson
Lee Anderson was elected as a Conservative MP in 2019 in a 'red wall' constituency (Alamy)

Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet reshuffle has received mixed reviews, particularly concerning his appointment of the controversial Conservative MP Lee Anderson as deputy party chair. 

In his first reshuffle since becoming Prime Minister, Sunak replaced Nadhim Zahawi with Greg Hands as party chairman with Anderson as his deputy, while also carrying out a restructure of government departments. 

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is being split into three: energy security, science innovation and technology, and a new Department for Business and Trade.

The appointment of Anderson as deputy chair has particularly attracted the attention of critics, including one Tory MP who told Politico’s London Playbook: “If No 10 think this appointment will help them keep the Red Wall, they are fools. 

“The only way to win the next election is to govern competently, not try and appeal to an electorate they clearly do not understand.”

However, other Conservatives have pointed out that Anderson is very popular with some MPs and the party membership. 

Anderson used to work as a miner and was a long-time Labour member, before defecting to the Conservatives and winning his constituency of Ashfield from Labour in 2019 – part of the so-called ‘red wall’.

He told PoliticsHome he feels “positive” about the promotion, adding: “The more my critics criticise me the more I know I am doing and saying the right things. If they ever stop then that's the time to worry.”

The Nottinghamshire MP has quickly gained a reputation for making controversial comments, including saying that he uses Twitter to “see who I can trigger: the Guardian readers, the Mirror readers and the Labour MPs”. 

There is also unease around the splitting up of departments, but Civil Service World reports that the outgoing head of BEIS has reassured civil servants that “there will be a job for everyone”.

President Zelensky visits UK for the first time since Russian invasion

rishi sunak and president zelensky
Rishi Sunak visited President Zelensky in Ukraine in November 2022 (Alamy)

The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, visited the UK today for the first time since Russia invaded his country in February 2022.

Zelensky met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Downing Street on Wednesday morning and then addressed Parliament in the afternoon. 

The Ukrainian president also had an audience with King Charles III at Buckingham Palace.

Foreign leaders rarely make speeches in UK Parliament, but Zelensky did previously make an address remotely via videolink in March 2022, shortly after the war with Russia started. 

Both Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have made visits to Ukraine as prime ministers since the full-scale invasion and the UK has supported the country in its war with Russia by sending weapons and military equipment. 

Zelensky's surprise visit comes as Sunak plans to extend military training provided in the UK to Ukrainian pilots and marines.

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