Gavin Williamson branded ‘juvenile’ over ‘kill all British jihadis’ comment

Posted On: 
7th December 2017

Gavin Williamson has been branded “juvenile” after suggesting that all Britons who have fought for Islamic State should be killed rather than being allowed to return to the UK. 

Gavin Williamson was appointed Defence Secretary when Michael Fallon stood down last month

Liberal Democrat peer and former director of public prosecutions Lord Macdonald slammed the newly appointed Defence Secretary after his controversial interview with the Daily Mail. 

Mr Williamson told the paper: “A dead terrorist can’t cause any harm to Britain...

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“I do not believe that any terrorist, whether they come from this country or any other, should ever be allowed back into this country.

“We should do everything we can do to destroy and eliminate that threat.”

Lord Macdonald ripped into the comments, saying: “We can’t simply say that everyone who has gone to Iraq will now be hunted down and killed. That’s a juvenile response.

“It’s not a serious, grown-up policy response for a senior British Government minister," he told the BBC's World at One. 

The rebuke follows widespread condemnation of Mr Williamson’s stance and earlier refusals from Downing St and the Foreign Secretary to unequivocally back him.

Asked if the Prime Minister supported the Defence Secretary, a Number 10 spokesperson said: “In instances where people do return to the UK, where we’re clear is that they should face the consequences of their actions and that would include investigation by the police and possible criminal prosecution.”

While Boris Johnson failed to explicitly endorse Mr Williamson’s language when asked by journalists earlier today.

He said: “I think that ... Michael Fallon put it very well a few weeks ago when he said that anybody who goes to fight for Daesh in Syria or Iraq has got to understand that they are putting themselves in harm’s way and, indeed, making themselves legitimate targets of British armed forces, and that is the reality.”

Labour MP John Woodcock said: “Insecure Gavin Williamson is shooting from the hip to mask his inexperience and distract attention from the appalling cuts the government is about to inflict on our armed forces.

“The defence secretary risks endangering the lives of British troops with this fatuous posturing on returning British jihadis.”

Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Menzies Campbell added: “The gung-ho opinions that he has expressed undermine the credibility of British armed forces in general and his office in particular.”