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ISIS fighters should be destroyed and not return to the UK, Gavin Williamson claims | Politics | News

Some 270 Britons who have left the UK to join ISIS are still thought to still be alive in the Middle East, with terror watchdog Max Hill QC suggesting some should be allowed to return to the UK.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Quite simply, my view is a dead terrorist can’t cause any harm to Britain.

“I do not believe that any terrorist, whether they come from this country or any other, should ever be allowed back into this country.”

In contrast, Mr Hill, called for young people who joined the sick terror group out of naivety to be spared prosecution if they make it back to the UK.

Appearing to suggest the continued use of airstrikes against UK citizens Mr Williamson called for the UK to do “everything” thing it can to “destroy and eliminate that threat”.

He said that Britons who went abroad to join terror groups “hate everything that Britain stands for, hate our values, hate that Britain is a beacon to the world of democracy and tolerance”.

The Defence Secretary praised the work of the UK Forces in ensuring that the threat to the country is “degraded” and “destroyed”.

He told the Daily Mail: “That is as important a part of the jigsaw as what we actually do on the streets in Britain.

“Every day we have got British service personnel making a difference to make sure some of those people that want to cause that harm are never able to come back to this country. That is something I am incredibly proud of.”

The terror legislation watchdog revealed a large number of the reported 800 who travelled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS and other groups have returned to the UK while 130 are thought to have been killed leaving around 270 remaining.

Mr Hill said: “We should be looking at reintegration and moving away from any notion that we are going to lose a generation from this.

“It’s not a decision that MI5 and others will have taken lightly. They, I am sure, will have looked intensely at each individual on return.

“But they have left space, and I think they are right to do so, for those who travelled, but who travelled out of a sense of naivety, possibly with some brainwashing along the way, possibly in their mid-teens and who return in a sense of utter disillusionment.

“We have to leave space for those individuals to be diverted away from the criminal courts.”

Speaking of fighters who have fled Syria and Iraq for other countries Mr Williamson vowed to ensure they did not return to the UK.

He said: “Make sure there is no safe space for them, that they can’t go to other countries preaching their hate, preaching their cult of death.”

Responding to Mr Williamson’s forthright statements commentator Bonnie Greer blasted that the Defence Secretary should not sound like he is writing a James Bond film.

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