• Sunday, April 21, 2024


Sunak’s impassioned plea to protect UK democracy: ‘Forces trying to tear us apart’

The PM was speaking soon after what he characterised as the ‘beyond alarming’ win in a byelection on Thursday (29) of a controversial politician, George Galloway, in Greater Manchester following a divisive campaign on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 1: Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gives a speech at Downing Street on March 1, 2024 in London, England. The Prime Minister spoke about a an increase in criminality related to extremism, saying we must “draw a line”, adding “Our streets have been hijacked on far too many occasions in recent months by small, “hateful” groups. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

PRIME MINISTER Rishi Sunak has passionately implored Britain to safeguard its democracy, cautioning against the divisive influence of extremist factions seeking to unravel the nation’s unity and erode its rich multi-faith tapestry. Drawing from his personal Hindu faith, the British Indian leader on Friday (1) emphasized the enduring ethos of the UK — embracing migrants of diverse faiths and backgrounds. He urged demonstrators to ensure that peaceful protests remain untainted by extremist agendas.

“Immigrants who have come here have integrated and contributed. They have helped write the latest chapter in our island story. They have done this without being required to give up their identity,” the PM said in a speech outside 10 Downing Street.

“You can be a practising Hindu and a proud Briton as I am, or a devout Muslim and a patriotic citizen as so many are, or a committed Jewish person and the heart of your local community, and all underpinned by the tolerance of our established, Christian church,” he added.

Read: UK democracy descending into ‘mob rule’, warns Sunak

“But I fear that our great achievement in building the world’s most successful multi-ethnic, multi faith democracy is being deliberately undermined. There are forces here at home trying to tear us apart,” the Conservative leader said.

Sunak was speaking soon after what he characterised as the “beyond alarming” win in a byelection on Thursday (29) of a controversial politician, George Galloway, in Greater Manchester following a campaign dominated by the divisions of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Read: I am a living proof that UK is not racist, says Sunak

He said on too many occasions recently, the streets of Britain had been hijacked by small groups who are hostile to British values and have no respect for its democratic traditions.

“Islamist extremists and the far right feed off and embolden each other. They are equally desperate to pretend that their violence is somehow justified when actually these groups are two sides of the same extremist coin… both loathe the pluralist, modern country we are,” he said.

The prime minister stressed that both these groups of extremists were spreading the poison of extremism with the aim of draining Britain’s confidence.

He adde, “No country is perfect, but I am enormously proud of the good that our country has done. “I stand here as our country’s first non-white prime Minister, leading the most diverse government in our country’s history to tell people of all races, all faiths and all backgrounds it is not the colour of your skin, the God you believe in or where you were born, that will determine your success but just your own hard work and endeavour.”

Sunak reiterated his support for a new protocol agreed with the country’s police forces earlier this week to take measures against violent protests that threaten the personal security of parliamentarians and also any violence during serial protests taking place in response to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Middle East.

He said threats of violence and intimidation are alien to the British way of doing things and must be resisted at all times.

“I love this country. My family and I owe it so much. The time has now come for us all to stand together to combat the forces of division and beat this poison. We must face down the extremists who would tear us apart,” Sunak, who might have a big test later this year in the form of general elections, said.

(With PTI inputs)

Related Stories