Labour questions home secretary’s motivation for banning Hezbollah

Labour questions home secretary’s motivation for banning Hezbollah

Jeremy Corbyn's party demands Sajid Javid proves his decision to proscribe the terror group's political wing is motivated by "evidence", not “leadership ambitions”.

A Hezbollah supporter waves the terror flag in central London during Al Quds Day.
A Hezbollah supporter waves the terror flag in central London during Al Quds Day.

Labour has demanded the Home Secretary demonstrate his decision to proscribe Hezbollah’s political wing was not motivated by “leadership ambitions” rather than clear evidence.

The statement comes after the government announced yesterday it would proscribe the millitary wing of Hezbollah, which has not been banned due to a legal loophole.

A draft order, subject to Parliament’s approval, will impose a sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment to members or anyone inviting support for Hezballah, Ansaroul Islam and JNIM.

The military wing of Hezbollah is already proscribed but the law draws a distinction between it and the political wing.

In a statement to Jewish News, a Labour Party spokesperson said: “The Home Office has previously ruled that there was not sufficient evidence that the political wing of Hezbollah fell foul of proscription criteria, a position confirmed by ministers in the House of Commons last year.

“Ministers have not yet provided any clear evidence to suggest this has changed.

“It has also rightly been the view of the Foreign Office for many years that proscribing the political wing of Hezbollah, which is part of the democratically elected Lebanese government, would make it difficult to maintain normal diplomatic relations with Lebanon, or to work with the government on humanitarian issues, including those facing Syrian refugees, in parts of the country controlled by Hezbollah.

“Decisions on the proscription of organisations as terror groups are supposed to be made on the advice of civil servants based on clear evidence that those organisations fall foul of the proscription criteria set out in legislation.

“The Home Secretary must therefore now demonstrate that this decision was taken in an objective and impartial way, and driven by clear and new evidence, not by his leadership ambitions.

“We support the government in its decision to proscribe the groups Jamaat Nusrat al Islam Wall Muslimin and Ansaroul Islam.”

Jewish News understands Labour will not oppose the ban, and it is not usual to whip issues of proscription.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Hezbollah is continuing in its attempts to destabilise the fragile situation in the Middle East and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party.

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