The government has acknowledged for the first time that Hezbollah leaders themselves suggest any distinction between the terror group’s military and political activities are artificial.
The UK currently draws a distinction between the two wings, with only the military proscribed under law.
However the group only has one flag – emblazoned with a rifle – and the loophole has enabled it to fly unchallenged through the streets of London during the annual Al Quds parade.
Successive home secretaries have resisted calls to outlaw Hezbollah in full but hopes were raised earlier this year that the loophole could soon be closed.
Answering a question in Parliament yesterday, Sajid Javid said: “It is clear that Hezbollah has engaged in and promoted terrorist activity around the world. That is why we have already proscribed its military wing, but I am aware that Hezbollah leaders have themselves cast doubt on the distinction between the military and political activities, so I understand why my hon. Friend asks that question.”
But he added: “It is not Government policy to comment on proscription without coming properly to the House, but I assure him that we are keeping this under review.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has repeatedly lobbied for full proscription after a disclaimer stressing support fr the political wing alone was pinned to the flag during the march last year. Conservative and Labour Friends of Israel, the Community Security Trust, Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies have long called for action, stressing that statements from Hezbollah leaders acknowledge the two wings are one are in the same thing.
It is already banned in full by America, Canada, the Netherlands and the Arab League