Rishi Sunak says he would bring back grammar schools as prime minister
BBC

The longer the Tory leadership battle between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss goes on, it seems the more bizarre their plans become.

Nothing sums that up more than Sunak’s reported plan to refer people who “vilify” Britain to the government’s Prevent programme as "extremists".

Prevent is the UK’s controversial anti-terrorism strategy that racial equality organisation JUST Yorkshire, described as being “built on a foundation of Islamophobia and racism”.

The news of Sunak’s suggested plan was shared by Home Affairs Editor for The Daily Telegraph, Charles Hymas, who tweeted: “People who vilify Britain will be treated as extremists and referred to the Government’s deradicalisation Prevent programme under plans by Rishi Sunak.”

He reports that on Tuesday (2 August), Sunak said if he becomes Prime Minister he wants to expand the definition of "extremism" so that it includes those with an “extreme hatred of Britain”, in order for them to be referred to Prevent.

Sunak's team has insisted this definition would not include criticism of the government or its policies and was also not legally binding.

Sunak said: "There is no more important duty for a prime minister than keeping our country and our people safe. 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.

"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."

It’s fair to say the news has ruffled more than a few feathers but has also sparked online mockery as it is one of the increasingly bizarre claims coming out of the leadership race.

Political commentator Ash Sarkar joked: “10 years in prison for calling the UK a ‘bad vibes country’.”

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Another Twitter user commented: “Your boyfriend getting sent to the Government's deradicalisation Prevent program for tweeting ‘Michael Gove is a pudding-faced c**kwomble’.”

Someone else wrote: “This tiny little island has contributed mostly violence & regression to most of the world.

“Perverted systems of democracies a thousand years old, desecrated indigenous practises and erased languages, pillaged land & resources.

“Refer me, bitches. @ukhomeoffice”

“Can’t wait to meet 90% of my timeline IRL in one of the Prevent camps,” another quipped.

Journalist Oliver Bullough wrote: “Britain is a money-laundering kleptocracy-enabling disgrace and the government is shamefully complicit.

“Shall I send Prevent my address? Or does this only apply to ethnic minorities?”

Another person joked: “On the upside, I won’t have to pay an enormous gas and electricity bill in prison.”

While many don’t believe Sunak’s plan will actually make it into policy, the idea that it is even being suggested is proving difficult enough to swallow.

indy100 has contacted Sunak to comment on this story.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)