The £4 Billion Refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster: An Opportunity to Incorporate Sate of the Art Security

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The Palace of Westminster is to undergo a major refurbishment at a cost estimated to be between £4 billion – £7 billion that is due to start 2019-2020. It is not the first time that MP’s and Lords will have to move to temporary accommodation as following the 1834 fire that destroyed virtually all of the old Palace building MP’s were temporarily relocated to Buckingham Palace. Built during the 1840’s, the Palace does not have modern security provisions built into it. The major refurbishment is an excellent opportunity to ensure that this iconic old Parliament building will combine old world charm with contemporary security.

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You can read my discussion on this issue with Chris Summers from Sputnik News on the link.

Islamist Terrorism Conviction: Madihah Taheer

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Madihah Taheer, a 21 year-old woman who was married to Islamist Ummar Mazra was convicted on the 26th October at Woolwich Crown Court for plotting acts of terrorism that would have occurred in Birmingham. Mazra had earlier pleaded guilty to the offence and Taheer were arrested in march 2017, shortly after the Westminster bridge terrorist attack (the two incidents are not linked). Although Taheer denied the offence saying she was manipulated by Mazra and did not believe Mazra would carry out the attack, evidence presented by the prosecution at her trial revealed the opposite and that she was deeply imbued with the Islamist narrative of the group Islamic State.

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Following an MI5 operation tracking Mizra, he was arrested by the West Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit  along with his sister for the offence. From Whats App conversations between Mizra and Taheer evidence revealed how there was little doubt that she was influenced by the violence in Islamic Sate’s narrative. For the UK 2017 has been a year where there have been five terrorist attacks, four influenced by Islamism, one allegedly by the extreme far right, but operations like this show how the UK’s security services and police are working on preventing further attacks from happening and the work they put into keeping the UK safe. We can all support them by reporting an suspicious activity to the Anti-Terrorism Hotline 0800 789 321

 

Should British Islamic State Fighters Be Killed?

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The UK Government Minister of State for International Development, Rory Stewart has said that the only way to deal with British IS fighters is to kill them.

An Islamist fighter, identified as Abu Muthanna al-Yemeni from Britain, speaks in the Isis video

In his assessment that British IS fighters have moved away from any kind of allegiance towards the British Government, he states they believe in IS’ extremely hateful doctrine and in using violence to create an eighth century state they consequently pose a serious danger. As they have executed people, held women and children hostage, tortured and murdered people to impose their will, Rory Stewart concludes that in almost every case British IS fighters should be killed.

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I can understand where Rory Stewart is coming from and I am certainly no apologist for IS or any form of Radical Islamist groups. They are an evil that needs to be eradicated as groups like IS have committed genocide in addition to all the other forms of excessive violent criminal activity. However, I see it as preferable for any British IS fighter who wants to return to the UK to be allowed to do so, but in doing so they should be arrested on their arrival to the UK and let due process of a criminal arrest/trial take its course. There may be the odd person who travelled to Syria to join IS through naively believing IS’ propaganda who may have been trapped in the region, who on their return, following arrest, where it is established they pose no immediate risk be rehabilitated. For those dedicated to IS’ cause who remain in the Syria/Iraq region to fight, then they should expect the consequences and be prepared to be killed, including as a result of targeted UK or US drone attacks.

It is understandable politicians like Rory Stewart have come out and expressed their frustration with foreign fighters who join the likes of IS, but as a government minister it is disappointing such views are expressed publically. That said, due process via criminal trials are the way forward as the likes of trial by jury is what differentiates liberal democratic values from totalitarian extremism like that espoused by IS.

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I will be discussing these issues with Huw Edwards on BBC News Channel’s , News at Five (17.00 BST)

13% Increase in Recorded Crime in England & Wales is not Due to, ‘…spread of radical Islamic Terror’

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The recorded crime statistics for England & Wales released on the 19th October 2017 showed an overall increase of 13%. This included a 19% increase in sexual offences and a 26% in knife/violent crime, as well as an increase in reported harassment/stalking crime. In separate data there has been a 31% in recorded hate crime.

Part of this increase is explained by improved reporting procedures by the police and for offences like sexual offences, harassment (and race hate) victims are showing confidence in the police and feel comfortable in reporting it.. Out of these crime statistics the worry is the increase in knife/violent offence (where over half have been attributed to the London area).

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US president, Donald Trump’s irresponsible and ill-informed tweet that the increase in recorded crime is due to the ‘spread of Radical Islamic terror’ is incorrect and way of the mark. It is time that Donald Trump kept his nose out of UK affairs and looked into his own country and the US murder and violent crime statistics involving firearms, like the recent shooting in Las Vegas where there is no connection to Islamist terror group action or radicalisation.

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I will be discussing this with Andrew Pierce on LBC Radio around 8.45 pm (BST) this evening.