On Tuesday 14th January, Keir Starmer, the Labour leadership frontrunner, branded Home Secretary's decision to include Extinction Rebellion (XR) on a list of extreme ideologies as “completely wrong and counterproductive”.
The shadow Brexit secretary denounced Priti Patel's move to put XR’s beliefs on the list of ideologies that warrant reporting someone to the Prevent programme, which seeks to stop terror attacks. His condemnation came after Patel, defended her decision in an interview with the LBC radio where she claimed that such an “assessment had to be based in terms of risk to the public, security risks, security threats” insisting that it was important to look at “a range of security risks”.
However, Starmer contradicted Patel's position was backed by Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow security minister. In a statement to The Guardian, Starmer said,
“It’s completely wrong and counterproductive to describe Extinction Rebellion as an ‘extreme ideology. I have spent a lifetime defending the right to protest – and campaigning for action on the climate crisis is hugely important.
“Climate change is a real and present danger that requires an immediate policy response; this decision further calls into question the effectiveness of the Prevent programme, of which Labour has long argued for an independent review.
The list of extreme ideologies including XR came in a guide dated to last November produced by counter-terrorism policing south-east and was intended for police officers, government organisations and teachers, who by law have to report concerns about radicalisation.
XR featured alongside threats to national security such as neo-Nazi terrorism and a pro-terrorist Islamist group. Police said including the non-violent climate emergency group was a mistake and recalled the document.