Jacob Rees-Mogg claims support of Brexit led anti-terror body to link him to far-right extremists
Britain’s ‘woke’ counter-terror strategy linked former Tory Cabinet Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg to extremists, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
The revelation comes days after a damning inquiry exposed how the Government’s Prevent programme was failing to tackle Islamist ideology, while at the same time treating mainstream views as extremism.
The inquiry, by former Charity Commission boss William Shawcross, last week disclosed how Prevent officials had claimed that a leading Conservative politician was associated with ‘far-Right sympathetic audiences’.
Mr Shawcross declined to name the individual but Prevent sources last night confirmed to the MoS that it was Mr Rees-Mogg, the former Business Secretary and leader of the House of Commons.
Mr Shawcross declined to name the individual but Prevent sources last night confirmed to the MoS that it was Mr Rees-Mogg
A stunned Mr Rees-Mogg described our revelation as ‘dangerously serious’ and said he believed he had been flagged because of his role as a leading Brexiteer.
‘Wasting effort on elected politicians scandalously diverted resources from evil-doers,’ he said.
‘The officials on the Prevent programme were clearly so infected by wokery and metropolitan political correctness that Brexit was considered an extreme far-Right idea.
According to this blinkered, misguided view, the 52 per cent of UK voters backing Brexit weren’t exercising their democratic right to regain our national sovereignty – they were entering the path to Right-wing extremism. This is bonkers and those responsible hold democracy in contempt . . .
‘Likewise, it is farcical to suggest the mainstream Conservative views I espouse, including Brexit, were somehow music to the ears of far-Right extremists.
But what is not farcical is the scandalous waste of time and resources which Prevent officials committed on such rubbish when, as the Shawcross review concluded, they should spend far more time combating the Islamist terror threat.’
Mr Shawcross’s 188-page report last week warned that Prevent had directly funded or engaged with extremists and was ‘out of kilter with the rest of the counter-terrorism system’.
Mr Shawcross’s 188-page report last week warned that Prevent had directly funded or engaged with extremists and was ‘out of kilter with the rest of the counter-terrorism system’
He concluded that the £49 million-a-year programme had failed to get to grips with extremist ideology.
He also found that the programme, set up in 2006, had applied a ‘double standard’ to Islamist and far-Right threats.
While Prevent staff had ‘misinterpreted, misunderstood or even overlooked’ the role of Islamist ideology, the programme had highlighted supposed examples of Right-wing extremism that fell ‘well below the threshold of even non-violent extremism’.
The MoS understands that Mr Rees-Mogg was named in a 2019 report by Prevent’s Research Information and Communications Unit (RICU) that analysed a group of social media users it described as ‘actively patriotic and proud’.
Mr Shawcross described how the RICU report ‘listed a prominent Conservative politician and former member of the Government as being among figures “associated with far-Right sympathetic audience, and Brexit” ‘.
Mr Shawcross also revealed that training material for a workshop about the ‘Extreme Right Wing’ profiled Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, now known as Reform UK, and included ‘pro-Brexit and centre-Right commentators’.
Those on the course were handed an essay by the Hope Not Hate campaign group which flagged up columns by Douglas Murray at the Spectator magazine, Rod Liddle at the Sunday Times and Melanie Phillips on the Times.
Mr Liddle told the MoS: ‘It’s an absurdity, an absolute absurdity, that people who might read my columns are in danger of being radicalised.’
And Mr Murray said: ‘The idea that mainstream writers like me would be used for this cynical counterweight exercise is sickening.’
A source said: ‘Home Secretary Suella Braverman is clear that William Shawcross’s review will be a watershed moment for the Prevent programme.
It must now focus on preventing terrorism and tackling extremist ideology, of which Islamism is the most significant threat. Jacob . . . is definitely in no way an extremist worthy of mention in Prevent’s work.’
A government spokesperson said: ‘Significant work is under way to overhaul and improve the Prevent training . . . Terrorism and radicalisation are complex topics influenced by a wide variety of factors, and they constantly evolve.’
Mr Shawcross declined to comment.
A source said: ‘Home Secretary Suella Braverman is clear that William Shawcross’s review will be a watershed moment for the Prevent programme