Isis terror threat: Michael Fallon defends Government action against ‘very real’ terrorist threats

Defence Secretary claims Government response is not simply a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has backed the Government’s decision to ramp-up UK anti-terrorist security measures in the face of “very real threats” from extremists.

Speaking on Sky News’s Murnaghan programme, Mr Fallon justified the new measures expected to be announced by the Prime Minister on Monday, which could include banning British jihadists who have been fighting in Iraq and Syria from re-entering the UK for a period of time.

“We’ve had tube trains blown up, London buses, Glasgow airport attacked, a soldier murdered in broad daylight – these are very real threats we are dealing with,” he said.

Mr Fallon dismissed claims that the Government has made a “knee-jerk” reaction to the current security situation, something that former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown accused ministers of echoing during numerous media appearances over the weekend.

In an article in the Observer, Mr Ashdown claimed that by raising the terror threat to the UK from “substantial” to “severe”, the Government risked alienating ordinary Muslims, while Tory minister took to “every available air-wave to tell us how frightened we should be and why this required a range of new powers for them to exercise”.

 

Mr Fallon told Sky News: “This isn’t any kind of knee-jerk response. The Prime Minister made clear on Friday we need to be calm and measured about how we do this.

“When we look at our current instruments, our armoury of how we deal with these threats, there are some gaps,” he added. “We have a number of young men going off to fight in Syria, a number of them slipping back home again. And we need to make sure, where we can, that we plug those existing gaps, and the Prime Minister is going to go into more details about that tomorrow.”

Mr Cameron is expected to announce a number of strong new anti-terrorist measures to MPs on Monday, including UK nationals suspected of being involved in terrorist acts being denied re-entrance to the UK for a period of time, and for authorities to be able to seize the passports of suspected terrorists to prevent them from travelling abroad with greater ease.

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