He said: “We need to do more to stop people travelling, to stop those who do
go from returning, and to deal decisively with those who are already here.
This will include further steps to stop people travelling, with new
legislation that will make it easier to take people’s passports away.”
The Lib Dem source said: “We wanted to avoid any knee jerk responses and the
Prime Minister made very clear that he agrees with that.”
The source said it was clear that “any new proposals would be discussed
carefully, based on the evidence and with regard to the liberty of British
Speculation is growing that the Government could bow to calls for terrorism
prevention and investigation measures (Tpims) to be strengthened, following
pressure to reintroduce “internal exile” on suspects, a key part of the old
control orders regime.
Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, suggested the Government should “revisit” the
decision to scrap control orders in favour of Tpims.
He said the Government should take action to stop young Britons being drawn to
extremist ideology, with tougher measures to prevent would-be jihadis
travelling to join Islamic State (IS) fighters in Iraq and Syria.
Mr Miliband also suggested a mandatory programme of deradicalisation for those
involved on the fringes with IS and called for ministers to revisit the
decision to scrap the control orders regime for terror suspects.
The Prime Minister warned on Friday that Britain faces the “greatest and
deepest” terror threat in the country’s history as the UK threat level was
raised to “severe” — its second highest — meaning that a terrorist attack is
“highly likely” in light of the growing danger from British jihadists
returning from Iraq and Syria.
Mr Cameron said that the risk posed by Isil (the Islamic State of Iraq and the
Levant) will last for “decades” and raised the prospect of an expanding
terrorist nation “on the shores of the Mediterranean”.
He disclosed that Isil had made “specific” threats against the UK and did not
rule out military action to tackle the growing problem.
More than 500 Britons are believed to have gone to Iraq and Syria and at least
half have returned, with some feared to be planning attacks here. One major
plot has been foiled.
The warning came as it emerged that a laptop seized from Isil in Syria
contained research on how to make a biological bomb and religious
justification to use it against civilians.
On Monday, Mr Cameron will unveil a number of “uncompromising” measures to
help tackle British jihadists and fill the “gaps in our armoury”.
They will include stopping British fanatics from travelling to or returning
from the war zones by making it easier to seize their passports.
He is also expected to tighten controls that can be put on the movement and
activities of terror suspects within the UK.
It is the first time in three years that the threat level has stood at severe,
just one short of “critical”, which would mean an attack is imminent.
The raised alert will lead to an increase in the number of armed police on the
streets, especially around landmark sites and airports.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, insisted that the move was not a result of
any specific plot, but in light of the increasing dangers posed by British
fanatics and other foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria.
The change also comes less than a week before a Nato summit in south Wales,
which will be the biggest gathering of heads of state in the UK.
The White House said that it had consulted with the British Government about
the heightened threat level, but there was no plan to raise America’s
equivalent threat notice.
In a Downing Street press conference, Mr Cameron said: “What we’re facing in
Iraq now with Isil is a greater and deeper threat to our security than we
have known before.
“In Afghanistan the Taliban were prepared to play host to al-Qaeda. With Isil
we are facing a terrorist organisation not being hosted in the country but
seeking to establish and then violently expand its own terrorist state.
“We could be facing a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean
bordering a Nato State.
“We are in the middle of a generational struggle against a poisonous and
extremist ideology that I believe we will be fighting for years if not
Mr Cameron said that the world had been “shocked and sickened” by the Isil
murder of James Foley, the US journalist, apparently by a British terrorist.
He said that he was “absolutely satisfied that Isil has specific threats and
will make specific threats to the UK”.
Whitehall sources said Isil and other terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria are
planning attacks against the UK and other Western countries.
The Prime Minister said: “It was clear evidence that this is not some foreign
conflict thousands of miles from home that we can hope to ignore. The
ambition to create an extremist caliphate in the heart of Iraq and Syria is
a threat to our own security here in the UK.”
He said that the battle was between Islam and extremists who used a “poisonous
ideology” and “the most brutal forms of terrorism to force people to accept
a warped world view”.
Mr Cameron has been under pressure to join the US in air strikes against the
terror group. Downing Street has insisted that no request has been made, but
the Prime Minister yesterday would not rule out military action.
“We must use all the resources we have at our disposal,” he said. “Learning
the lessons from the past doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for our
“The military were vital in driving al-Qaeda from Afghanistan and we support
the US air strikes against Isil in Iraq. Military force is just one element
of what we can do.”
There have also been calls for changes in the law to help strip passports from
Mr Cameron said on Friday: “It is becoming clear that there are some gaps in
our armoury and we need to strengthen them. We need to do more to stop
people travelling, to stop those who do go from returning and to deal
decisively with those who are already here.”
He went on: “Adhering to British values is not an option or choice. It is a
duty to those who live on this island. In the end it is only by standing up
that we will defeat extremism.”
Earlier this week Scotland Yard warned that the arrest rate for those
suspected of being involved in Syria or Iraq-related terrorism had increased
five-fold since last year.
The decision to raise the threat level was taken by the Joint Terrorism
Analysis Centre, which operates out of MI5 and is independent of ministers.
Mrs May said: “We face a real and serious threat in the UK from international
terrorism. I would urge the public to remain vigilant and to report any
suspicious activity to the police.”