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PM says there's 'no' place for swastikas in Britain as he vows to 'hold police to account'

10 April 2024, 09:31 | Updated: 10 April 2024, 09:33

PM says there's 'no' place for swastikas in Britain as he vows to 'hold police to account'
PM says there's 'no' place for swastikas in Britain as he vows to 'hold police to account'. Picture: Alamy / LBC

By Danielle De Wolfe

The Prime Minister has said there is "no" circumstance in which a swastika is acceptable after being pushed by Nick Ferrari on whether police were right to question the "context" of the symbol at a recent protest.

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The PM's comments follows claims that a complaint about a swastika shown within a Star of David made by a woman attending a recent demonstration was not followed up by police because she was not Jewish.

Taking calls on Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Mr Sunak was pushed on his comments suggesting police ought to be more “pro-active” where the policing of demonstrations was concerned.

He told callers “no one should have to face racism on our streets," adding that he “expects" the force to use increased powers to police.

Asked whether there was ever an appropriate “context" for a swastika, Mr Sunak said there was not, adding anyone acting in an “intimidating or racist” way should be “dealt with swiftly".

“I have to be careful not to comment on individual police matters, that’s not the job of politicians - and I think people will understand that,” Mr Sunak said.

'Can a swastika ever be taken in context?' Nick Ferrari challenges PM

"But there are lots of things we’ve been seeing on our screens that are not right - and I expect the police to follow up on all of these things."

He added that police need to make sure those not behaving "in accordance with our values” are “dealt with swiftly," adding those who “undermine the things we all hold dear” or act in an “intimidating or racist” manner will not be tolerated.

“It wasn’t British,” said Mr Sunak said of the Swastika flag seen at a recent demonstration in Scotland, emphasising Britain has "a tradition of respect and tolerance” when it comes to multiculturalism and religion.

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“I spoke about this a little while ago on the steps of Downing Street,” the PM said on the recent spate of anti-semitism towards Jewish people in the capital and beyond.

Adding that people still have a right to “make their views heard”, the PM said “that can’t cross the line into intimidating people”.

Speaking on the policing of such protests, the PM vowed to give the force “more powers when needed”, adding that he "expects" police to use the increased powers they're given.

“I hold them to account for making our streets safe and for making sure no one, whoever they are, suffers from intimidating or racist behaviour on our streets,” the PM said.

Watch again: Rishi Sunak joined Nick Ferrari | 10/04/24

The PM reiterated his crackdown on protests by referencing the recent banning of flares and offences including climbing on war memorials.

It followed the recent Swastika incident at a demonstration in Scotland, with the image, which is also said to bear the caption 'Nazism = Zionism', reported to the police last week under Scotland's new hate crime laws.

The laws criminalise material that a "reasonable person" would consider "likely to result in hatred being stirred up against a group".

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