Foreign nationals committing acts of antisemitism or other hate crimes in the UK should have their visas revoked, according to former home secretary Sajid Javid.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the UK will “not tolerate this hatred” and said existing immigration rules do allow for a person to lose their right to stay in the UK if it is “not conducive to the public good”.
Their exchanges came at Prime Minister’s Questions, a session largely focused on the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Conservative MP Mr Javid told the Commons: “I’m proud to live in the most successful multi-racial democracy in the world, but it saddens me – and I think it shames this whole House – that British Jews have been subject to such vile abuse and hatred in recent days.
“Antisemitism and all hate crimes fly in the face of British values and we should not allow events abroad, no matter how horrific they are, to be used to sow seeds of division in our own country.
“So whilst I welcome all the actions that (Mr Sunak) is taking to fight hate crime, to bring people together, may I ask him to consider urgently an immediate and specific policy of revoking the visas of any foreign national that commits an act of antisemitism or any other hate crime?”
Home Secretary Suella Braverman appeared to be nodding as the question was asked.
Mr Sunak replied: “I completely agree with (Mr Javid), who himself has done so much over the years to fight antisemitism.
“The increase in incidents we’ve seen over the past week is utterly sickening and this Government will do whatever it takes to keep our Jewish community safe.”
He said an additional £3 million has been committed to provide extra security for the UK’s Jewish population, adding the Government is working with the police to ensure that “hate crime and the glorification of terror is met with the full force of the law”.
Mr Sunak went on: “Under our existing immigration rules we do have the power to cancel a person’s presence in the UK if it is not conducive to the public good.
“We will not tolerate this hatred, not in our country, not in this century.”
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters said the rules allowed the cancellation of visas for people “engaged in unacceptable, extremist behaviour, anyone fostering hatred, actions which may lead to inter-community violence” or where a person is “associated with or has been associated with people involved in terrorism”.
The Home Office would be “looking carefully” at incidents in the last week to see whether that would be applicable.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said there has been a “disgusting rise” in antisemitism since the Hamas attack, with Jewish families “hiding who they are”, along with an “appalling surge” in Islamophobia – with mosques “forced to ramp up security”.
He said every MP has a “duty to work in their constituency and across the country to say no to this hate”, with the Prime Minister replying: “All of us in this House can play our part in stamping out those who seek to cause division and hate in our society.”