A former MP who chaired Labour Friends of Israel is to investigate extremism in the UK, in light of the storming of the US Capitol last month.
John Woodcock, who now sits in the upper chamber as Lord Walney, resigned from the Labour Party in 2018, saying it had been “taken over by the hard-left”. Under investigation for sexual harassment at the time, he said then-leader Jeremy Corbyn was “a clear risk to national security”.
This week he told the Telegraph that while the far-left had “overstepped the mark” there was “no equivalence” in threat – the far-right was of much greater concern. Recent Home Office data backs that up. Those espousing far-right beliefs currently comprise up to one fifth of Britain’s prison population.
“I’m coming at this with an open mind, but with an understanding that there is clearly a potential for groups to develop into increasingly problematic areas,” he said.
Woodcock’s work will look at the extent to which left-wing groups such as the Socialist Workers’ Party are involved with campaigns such as Black Lives Matter and the fight against climate change.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, whose immigration policies have been widely criticised by Jewish groups, recently called Extinction Rebellion activists “so-called eco-crusaders turned criminals”.
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