By Matthew Barrett
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In my series profiling groups of Tory MPs, most groups I've looked at have been mostly or wholly composed of 2010 intake MPs. The next group is bit different, as it was founded more than 25 years ago. The No Turning Back group has a proud history of celebrating and promoting Thatcherism. How is the group doing now? In this profile, I'll be examining what No Turning Back, the backbench group for Thatcherites in Parliament, is doing now.
Origins of the group
No Turning Back was founded in 1985 to defend Mrs Thatcher's free-market policies. The 25 founding members included, amongst others, now-Deputy Chairman Michael Fallon, now-Defence Minister Gerald Howarth, and the late, great Eric Forth.
The name of the group comes from Mrs Thatcher's famous conference speech given in October 1980:
"To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the “U” turn, I have only one thing to say. “You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning.” I say that not only to you but to our friends overseas and also to those who are not our friends."
There are about 100 members of the group, which is chaired by John Redwood, including "quite a lot" from the 2010 intake. Members include such big beasts as John Redwood, David Davis, Bernard Jenkin, Peter Lilley, Lord Forsyth, and Liam Fox. Current Conservative officeholders who are members of the group include the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith; David Cameron's PPS, Desmond Swayne; Nick Clegg's Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Mark Harper; the Minister of State for Transport, Theresa Villiers; a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, Jonathan Djanogly; three government whips, Angela Watkinson, Mark Francois and Greg Hands; the Chairman of the Procedure Committee, Greg Knight; and the Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, John Whittingdale, who was Mrs Thatcher's Political Secretary in the late 1980s.
I wrote last November about the lack of Labour backbenchers willing to support their Government’s Queen’s speech in the Commons.
Rob Wilson blogged earlier about the unwillingness of recent ex-Ministers to speak in the Commons.
A few weeks ago, Jonathan noted that no Labour speaker supported the Fiscal Responsibility Bill – a flagship Government measure – in the Commons at Second Reading.
So have Labour backbenchers been more enthusiastic this week? Not much. Here are some highlights from Monday’s Second Reading of another key Government measure – the Crime and Security Bill:
Footnote: no Labour backbencher was present at the start of the Fiscal Responsibility Bill on Wednesday. None was present at the start of yesterday’s Topical Debate on the Food Industry. I’m not suggesting that Labour backbenchers should follow the Government position on autopilot. And I appreciate that what happens in the Commons is usually of minimal interest outside. But it’s important to convey the texture and taste of what’s happening daily in the Commons – namely, the draining away, like blood from a dying man, of authority and command from the Government front bench.
Paul Goodman recently announced his surprise decision to stand down as MP for Wycombe at the next election after just two terms in the Commons.
He uses an article in today's Daily Mail to explain that it is the fall of the "citizen MP" and rise of a "taxpayer-dependent political class" which lies behind his decision:
"In short, the Commons is set to become a chamber of professional politicians, dependent on the taxpayer, and therefore remote from the millions of Britons who aren't - especially the hard-pressed and overtaxed middle classes. The tragic result of the expenses disaster will be that the House will speed in this direction even faster.
"Not so long ago, the Commons was a chamber of elected representatives who were free to earn outside it, and thus had real knowledge and expertise of the world beyond Westminster. The House's prime purpose was to debate and resolve the clash of different interests within and between parties. The Conservatives drew from the City, business, the law and farming. Labour recruited from the shop and the factory floor."
But, he argues, the Government's response to the expenses scandal brought a "decisive turn of the screw":
"Gordon Brown, in an act of class revenge, pushed a measure through the House requiring MPs to declare exactly how many hours they work outside it. This marks the beginning of the end, for the forseeable future, of a chamber of citizen MPs, rather than professional ones. Few working business people, lawyers, doctors and, yes, even journalists will long be able to fend off rivals who pledge to be in the House for every hour of the working day to scratch away at the hamster wheel."
He also bemoans the transfer of parliamentary powers to the European Union and devolved bodies, as well as the rise of the quangocracy.
Read his full article here.
One for the localists amongst you: there were oral questions on communities and local government yesterday.
Monmouth MP and pugilist David Davies asked about the Government's programme to tackle violent extremism, a topic which Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government Paul Goodman has also been pursuing.
"David T.C. Davies: When I last raised this issue, I asked the Secretary of State for an assurance that not one penny of Government money was being given to extremists or to violent extremists. She was unable to give me that assurance at the time, but the Department has now had a year to look into the issue. Can we possibly be given an assurance today that not one penny of Government money is being given to extremists, and if not, why not?
Hazel Blears: The hon. Gentleman is correct in saying that he has raised the issue before. I am delighted to be able to tell him about the range of work that has been done in the last 12 months. First, extensive guidance was published for all local authorities in June last year, setting out exactly the criteria on which groups should be funded. We fund groups that stand up to tackle violent extremism and uphold our shared values. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that following a point of order raised by the hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. Goodman), I undertook to place in the Library of the House, by the end of April, full details—they are held in our Government offices—of the projects being funded."
That answer does not inspire confidence.
"Mr. Paul Goodman (Wycombe) (Con): As the Secretary of State has answered this question herself, may I first say to her that we believe she had no alternative to the course that she took in suspending relations with the Muslim Council of Britain?
Let me now return to the question. The House will have noted that, for the second time, the Secretary of State was unable to give my hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (David T.C. Davies) the guarantee that he seeks that extremists have not got their hands on taxpayers’ money. As I know from correspondence with her, the reason is simple: no system exists to check who receives the cash before it is given. That is frankly scandalous. Can the Secretary of State at least guarantee that when she publishes information on where last year’s Preventing Violent Extremism money went—she has promised to do so—she will publish the details of who received the money, down to the very last penny?
Hazel Blears: The hon. Gentleman is wrong to say that there is no system for checking the allocation of those funds to community groups. There is a system, for local authorities, the police and a range of other organisations, to ensure that the funds are allocated to groups that uphold our shared values and are committed to standing up to tackle extremism.
I have told the hon. Gentleman that this is not a ring-fenced grant, for the very reason that we want the work to be embedded as mainstream work for local authorities, and to draw in funding from other sources to ensure that it can be done in a proper, comprehensive fashion. I have also told him that we will place the information in the Library. We have told local authorities that the grant is not ring-fenced, but because of its exceptionally sensitive nature, the Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my hon. Friend the Member for Tooting (Mr. Khan), has written to local authorities saying that we will continue to monitor it extremely carefully. The hon. Gentleman must accept, however, that if we want this work to be embedded as mainstream activity, we must be prepared to make sure we are working in proper, effective partnership with our local authorities."
Something has gone wrong here, and MPs are right to keep pressing until we find out what it is.
I reported yesterday that Shadow Communities Minister Paul Goodman was being stonewalled over the details of funding for the "violent extremism pathfinder fund".
Mr Goodman and Alan Duncan (Shadow Leader of the House of Commons) both raised the issue at Business Questions today. Mr Duncan asked the Leader of the House of Commons (Harriet Harman):
"The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is obstructing the publication of details about where money has been spent on the preventing violent extremism pathfinder fund, even though the details were published for last year. Ministers are accountable to Parliament, especially on the spending of money. This appears to be unacceptable behaviour from the Secretary of State and brings her and this place into disrepute. Will the Leader of the House convey to the Secretary of State the displeasure of the House and seek a full apology from her along with the information to which hon. Members are fully entitled?"
Ms Harman replied:
"The hon. Gentleman talked about the accountability of the Department for Communities and Local Government for local spending. Obviously, the Department wants to answer parliamentary questions and be accountable for its spending. There is no attempt not to be open about what we regard a very important programme of ensuring that the police work for greater security. We also work with local communities to ensure that we prevent radicalism and extremism."
Mr Goodman later chipped in:
"I return to the preventing violent extremism pathfinder fund, which I raised yesterday on a point of order and my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Alan Duncan) raised today from the Front Bench. I have in my hands details of where every single penny from the fund went last year, which were placed in the Library. The Department for Communities and Local Government is refusing to place in the Library the equivalent details for this year. It must follow either, as was suggested to me yesterday by the Secretary of State’s private office, that the Department no longer holds details of the fund, in which case there is no guarantee that money is not falling into the hands of extremists and violent extremists, or that it is refusing to put the information in the Library, which is a discourtesy to Members in all parts of the House and involves withholding information that the public have a right to know. Will the Leader of the House use her good offices to get the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to make a statement from the Dispatch Box about the matter, which is of exceptional seriousness?
Ms Harman: There is no intention to withhold any information about public money being spent. We are proud of the Prevent programme, which is designed to combat extremism. I suggest that I write to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and ask her to meet the hon. Gentleman in order to resolve the issue amicably. I look to hon. Members to support the idea that Government take a role and take responsibility—
Mr. Goodman: Where is the money going?
Mr. Speaker: Order. When the hon. Gentleman asks for a reply from the Leader of the House, he should calm down and listen. It may not be to his liking, but he must calm down.
Ms Harman: It is right that the Government should put into the hands of local authorities funds so that they can work with community groups in their area to help divert young people away from extremism and to support community organisations that are trying to tackle extremism. I deplore the idea that some sort of hue and cry is being set up to smear this important programme. If the Opposition want information, the Secretary of State will give them the relevant information and ask for their support for the programme in their areas."
This now looks like a scandal. The Government should publish the full details of where monies from the violent extremism pathfinder fund are going this year - immediately. Something is rotten, and we have a right to know what it is.
Perhaps much of the money has not been disbursed swiftly and is sitting in a bank account. That would be embarrassing. Or maybe it has been given to some unsavoury organisations. That would be worse.
Regardless, I for one want to know what's going on.
Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government Paul Goodman made a point of order in the House of Commons this afternoon which is well worth a detailed look.
"Mr. Paul Goodman (Wycombe) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As you are aware, the preventing violent extremism pathfinder fund distributes more than £70 million of public money to local authorities. Last year, after a delay of some six months, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government was persuaded to place in the Library details of how that fund was being spent for that year. Earlier this year, I wrote to the Secretary of State to ask her to place in the Library the corresponding details for this year. I received no reply. After a written question, I received a reply studiously ignoring the request I had made. This morning, I phoned the Secretary of State’s private office and was told that the Department may—I stress “may”—no longer holds these financial details for this year at all.
My point of order is as follows. Either the Department no longer holds the details of where a substantial tranche of £70 million-worth of public money is going, which is a scandal, or it is refusing to place in the Library details of where that money is going, which, frankly, is no less scandalous in relation to information that Members of this House and members of the public have the right to see. What can you do, Mr. Speaker, to assist Members of this House in obtaining access to information that they have a right to know?
Mr. Speaker: It is up to Ministers as to how they answer parliamentary questions. I will look into the matter the hon. Gentleman raises, and I will get back to him. I thank him for raising it.
Peter Luff (Mid-Worcestershire) (Con): Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I want to point out my concern, which I hope is shared by the House, that it seems easier to get information from the Government through freedom of information requests, which would work for my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe (Mr. Goodman), than through written questions. That is a very worrying development.
Mr. Speaker: It would certainly worry me. When parliamentarians seek information through parliamentary questions that is all-important and they should be a priority for any Minister."
Mr Goodman is right to be concerned. As recent events once again prove, extremism needs to be addressed as an urgent priority. Since 1997 Labour have made a habit of announcing hefty expenditure on all sorts of projects and then closer inspection has shown that all is not as it seemed.
I was due to speak at a debate (which has alas been cancelled) at the Oxford Union tonight, against the motion "This House Would do Anything for Charity". I would have made the obvious but essential point that not all charities are worthwhile, and that some do positive harm. So it is with Treasury expenditure. If large sums of money are indeed being splashed around in the name of preventing extremism, we need to know who is receiving the cash and what they stand for.
I am told that the Conservatives may press this matter further. I hope so, and I will be interested to see what they uncover.
Mr Goodman, Mr Luff and Mr Speaker all made the additional point that ministers should answer written questions properly. Since October I have been trawling through Hansard regularly, and this is certainly another real problem.
Paul Goodman, Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government, yesterday addressed the issue of Holocaust Memorial Day, which was on 27 January.
"The debate is necessarily sombre, and as the Minister said, each year it is one in which party politics is irrelevant. Each year, we probe the causes of the horror of the holocaust, its roots planted in the racist ideology of the Nazis and, even deeper, in Europe’s terrible history of anti-Semitism. We honour the work of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Community Security Trust, the all-party group against anti-Semitism, many of whose Members are in their places, and many other organisations. We condemn holocaust denial, as the Minister rightly did, as we do all racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia.
We wonder how the holocaust could have happened, and how most Germans could have averted their eyes from the attempted extermination of an entire people in Europe. In 1933, Germany could claim to be the most civilised nation in the world. Less than 15 years later, 6 million people were dead. Before we rush to judgment, however, we ask ourselves each year whether we are certain that we would have behaved more honourably. We always join together in this debate to say, “Never again.”
As the Minister said, the Jewish people were not the only victims of the holocaust. There were also Poles, disabled people, political prisoners, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gay people and many others. Nor, as has been pointed out from the Conservative Benches, was the holocaust the only exercise in mass murder. The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s website refers to Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur.
Of itself, anti-Semitism is surely no worse than any other form of that vile thing, racism. However, the location of the extermination camps in Europe and the historical backdrop against which they were set place on us a unique responsibility. As politicians, we must be especially sensitive to eruptions of anti-Semitism, given the speed at which it gathered pace in Germany.
It is incontestable that what happens abroad can stir violent extremism at home. However, I wish to make it absolutely clear that violence abroad must not be allowed to spill on to the streets of Britain, from whatever quarter. People must take great care not accidentally to inflame what they rightly decry.
I close with three swift questions to the Under-Secretary, who, as ever, made a good speech today. First, will he give the House a categorical assurance that all police forces will record anti-Semitic crimes by the end of 2008-89, as promised Secondly, what is the Government’s view of reports that the Muslim Council of Britain boycotted Holocaust memorial day this year? If they are true, will the Government’s engagement policy in relation to the MCB change? If so, in what way? Thirdly, Ministers rightly met groups concerned about the conflict in Gaza and Israel recently. What steps is the Under-Secretary taking to ensure not only that Ministers meet groups, but that groups from different religious backgrounds and from none can meet each other in such circumstances—obviously, I am referring not only to Gaza and Israel—to help reduce tensions?"
Shadow Minister for Local Communities and Government, Paul Goodman, has been raising the issue of Muslim Arbitration Tribunals. Yesterday he said in the House of Commons:
"I make no apology for returning to the implications for community cohesion and local government of sharia courts in the UK, a matter on which the new Minister quite properly opined last weekend and which we discussed yesterday. As both I and the Minister intimated yesterday, my hon. and learned Friend the shadow Home Secretary has received a letter from the Home Secretary confirming that Muslim arbitration tribunals were established in Britain last year. We have no objection in principle to the use of arbitration vehicles, including such tribunals, to resolve private family and contractual disputes. However, those tribunals will clearly be run by sharia judges and are therefore likely be marketed to Muslims as state-licensed sharia courts. There are, in particular, important questions about whether Muslim women will always come before such tribunals voluntarily.
I want to put it on record that we are deeply concerned about the paucity of information that we have received from the Home Office and about the implications, therefore, for community cohesion. This is a subject of great public interest, as the Archbishop of Canterbury, for one, will confirm.
Ministers do not appear to have announced the establishment of these tribunals last year. They have not said how many there are, or who was consulted. They have not told us who the mediators or judges are, how many cases have been heard or what measures are in place to protect women. The House and the public are being told very little. I was grateful to the Minister for confirming yesterday that he will use his good offices to clear up these matters, by ensuring that we get answers in writing, but our message to Ministers this afternoon is that they should not take refuge in letters that conceal more than they reveal."
At Business Questions in the Commons yesterday a succession of Conservative MPs exposed the failure of ministers to answer their questions in a timely way.
Chris Bryant MP, The Deputy Leader of the House of Commons: "The Cabinet Office produces guidance for Departments on handling correspondence from Members of Parliament, Members of the House of Lords, Members of the European Parliament and Members of devolved Assemblies. All Departments should set targets, which should not exceed 20 working days."
Andrew Selous: "First, let me welcome the hon. Gentleman to his new post. I am aware of the guidance and I have a copy of it. As he rightly says, the figure is 20 days, but I wrote to the Department of Health on 28 July on a serious matter with national implications for the treatment of NHS patients. Seventy-four days—10 and a half weeks—have passed and my office has chased the matter up 10 times to try to get a reply, but we have not had one. Will the hon. Gentleman help me to get a reply and will he remind all Ministers that replying to Members’ letters is not just something that they should get round to, but a constitutional duty to perform out of respect for our constituents?"
Chris Bryant: "I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman’s kind comment at the beginning of his remarks. What he describes is clearly not acceptable, and I shall ensure that he gets an answer as soon as possible... While 204,925 letters a year are answered by Ministers, the Department of Health is one of the better-performing Departments, with 92 per cent. of letters responded to in time."
Paul Goodman MP: "On 22 January, I wrote to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on behalf of my constituent, George Young. My office chased the letter up four times, and I finally received a reply on 8 September. I welcome the Minister to his new post, but will he encourage the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to send one of his minions to the Dispatch Box to make a statement confirming that that delay and others like it are completely unacceptable, and that the Department will remove its collective finger from wherever it may happen to have inserted it?"
Chris Bryant: "The hon. Gentleman tempts me, but I will not go down that route. It is clear that hon. Members must have swift answers. Those who are elected to the House should get swift and substantive answers to the questions that they ask on their own behalf or on behalf of their constituents."
Mark Harper MP: "I too welcome him to his post. I acknowledge the work of the Leader of the House in chasing up Departments following my letter to her. Having said that, I am still waiting for answers to 17 questions tabled a week before the summer recess. Of the 85 named day questions that I tabled, 55 were not answered on the named day, and on average the answers were 19 days late. That is not acceptable. What will the hon. Gentleman and the right hon. and learned Lady do to ensure that Ministers deliver on their promises to the House?"
Chris Bryant: "My gratitude continues, this time to the hon. Gentleman for his kind comments. He has shown the House that he is an extremely assiduous Member, including during the recess. Many members of the public might think that Members of Parliament work only when the House is sitting, but he was assiduous in tabling questions even during the bank holiday week. During the three days in September, 807 questions were tabled. That is a good innovation, but it is clear that further work is necessary to ensure that a greater number of questions are answered more swiftly and substantively. As the hon. Gentleman has taken a long-standing interest in such issues, with two debates in Westminster Hall on ministerial accountability, I am happy to take forward some of those issues jointly with him."
"How can extremism be defined? Admittedly, that is a difficult task, but page 60 of the Government's strategy document gives an indication by listing some of the engagement criteria for organisations. However, the criteria are rather vague and should be clarified. One definer of extremism might be support for attacks on our troops in Iraq or Afghanistan. Another might be campaigning for the establishment of separate sharia jurisdictions under British law. Yet another might be the incitement of violence against women, gay people or non-Muslims.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr. Cameron) has left no doubt about his view. He has called for the banning of Hizb ut-Tahrir and the barring from Britain of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi—a lead that the Government eventually followed. He has also called for us to prevent public money and support from flowing to bodies such as the Cordoba Foundation and the Muslim Brotherhood. My noble Friend Baroness Neville-Jones made a similar critique in her report "Uniting the Country". My noble Friend Baroness Warsi noted that partnership arrangements with special interest groups are wrong, partly because "some such groups often hold ambiguous views on cohesion and integration."
What is the Government's view? I ask that because the Muslim Brotherhood appears to be making a push for influence and acceptance and because Ministers are sending out mixed messages. For example, I recently questioned the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the Floor of the House. She said: "The local authority in Tower Hamlets" - I was raising a particular case - "was going to engage with the Cordoba Foundation; it decided not to, and that was absolutely the right decision."
However, she knows that one of the leading lights of the Cordoba Foundation—Anas Altikriti is the gentleman I have in mind—has never denied being a leading light in the Muslim Association of Britain, which has itself never denied being, in effect, the British wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. When questioned only a few moments before condemning the Cordoba Foundation in the quotation that I have just cited, however, the Secretary of State failed to comment on the presence of the MAB on the mosques and imams advisory committee. What is going on here? Are organisations such as the Muslim Brotherhood suitable partners, or not?"
More from Hansard here.
Highlights of Paul Goodman's contribution:
Anti-Semitism has a particular horror for Europeans: "All forms of hatred against people on the basis of their race, religion, sexuality or condition—indeed, all forms of hatred against people—are an unqualified and unmitigated evil. However, there is a special horror for those of us who are Europeans, in the widest sense of the word, in and about anti-Semitism. The reason for that is almost too obvious to state: the holocaust."
Violence against synagogues: "Many places of worship in Britain today have been subject to violence, including churches, mosques and gurdwaras. There have been atrocious incidents, but only one religious institution in Britain is under threat to such a degree that those who attend it are advised not to linger outside after worship: the synagogue."
Anti-Semitism is no longer just practicised by neo Nazis: "When I was growing up, anti-Semitism was largely confined, in the context of extremist ideology, to neo-Nazi groups, but that has changed. It is now also championed by some who claim—mistakenly, as my Muslim constituents would point out—to speak in the name of Islam."
There is a particular problem in universities: "As for universities, as the right hon. Member for Warley (Mr. Spellar) said, the menace of anti-Semitism is particularly acute in higher education. That menace does not express itself only in the visible activity of anti-Semitic groups, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir. Jewish students also report anti-Semitism on campus as a mood, an atmosphere and a mode of discourse. The right hon. Gentleman described it as a chill in the atmosphere. That leaks out especially, perhaps, from debates on the middle east, and can prevent Jewish students from enjoying a normal university experience. It can even deter young Jewish people from attending certain institutions altogether."
Extremist Muslim groups must be shunned in the same way that we shun the BNP: "We believe that it is wrong for institutions to participate in events that are hosted by anti-Semitic parties such as the British National party. It therefore follows that it is also wrong for them to participate in events hosted by other anti-Semitic organisations, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir. I make that point because it was reported this week that John Holmwood, a sociology professor at Birmingham university, which is an excellent institution, spoke at a local debate that was organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir. It should also be unacceptable for local authorities to support groups that are willing to engage actively with Hizb ut-Tahrir, such as the Cordoba Foundation; we understand that that is the case in Tower Hamlets. The Cordoba Foundation appears to be involved in Campusalam—a Government-sponsored programme to tackle extremism on campus—so we would welcome clarification from the Minister on that."
Paul Goodman MP: "Further to the question from my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) about the placing of documents relating to the Prime Minister’s “preventing violent extremism” programme in the Library, the Leader of the House should know that the Prime Minister made a commitment to put the relevant documents in the Library as long ago as 14 November, and on 21 November the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government wrote to me saying that they would be put in the Library “shortly”. However, the Secretary of State’s office has now told my office that there is no timetable for their delivery. Although the programme is important and worth while, Members will rightly wish to scrutinise the details of where the money is going. Will the Leader of the House please ensure that the problem is cleared up as a matter of urgency?"
Harriet Harman, Leader of the Commons: "The hon. Gentleman can ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government about that next Tuesday, but he has made a serious point. I will look into it, and ensure that the Secretary of State writes to him and to the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) before next Tuesday."
ConservativeHome's view: "This is a serious matter. The Prime Minister promised David Cameron that the Opposition would be able to see the documents behind its £6m 'Preventing Violent Extremism" programme. The programme aims to help prevent young Muslims being exploited by violent extremists and it is right that the Tories have an opportunity to scrutinise how this is being done."
"This House, recognising that freedom of speech within the law and freedom from violence and intimidation are indispensable preconditions of a free society, deeply regrets the decision of the Dutch Parliament and Government to withdraw protection abroad from Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the author, film-maker and former politician, and urges both bodies to reverse this decision forthwith."
James Forsyth has more over at The Spectator.