UK terrorist funding report is ‘hushed up’

Theresa May with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef in Riyadh on Wednesday EPA

An investigation into the foreign funding of extremist Islamist groups may never be published, the Home Office has admitted.

The inquiry commissioned by David Cameron, was launched as part of a deal with the Liberal Democrats in December 2015, in exchange for the party supporting the extension of British airstrikes against Isis into Syria.

But although it was due to be published in the spring of 2016, it has not been completed and may never be made public due to its “sensitive” contents.

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It is thought to focus on Saudi Arabia, which the UK recently approved £3.5bn worth of arms export licences to.

A spokesperson from the Home Office told The Independent a decision on the publication of the report would be taken “after the election by the next government”.

But in a separate interview with The Guardian, a spokesperson said the report may never be published, describing its contents were “very sensitive”.

Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, has written a letter to the Prime Minister pressing her on when the report will be published and what steps she proposes to take to address “one of the root causes of violent extremism in the UK”.

“You will agree with me that the protection of our country, of the British people, is the most important job of any government,” he wrote. “Certainly, more important than potential trade deals with questionable regimes, which appear to be the only explanation for your reticence.

“When will this report be finished and published? And what steps do you propose to take to address one of the root causes of violent extremism in the UK?”

Mr Brake accused Ms May of adopting a “short-sighted approach” to the funding of violent Islamist groups in the UK and urged that those who fund them should be called out publicly.

Accusing the Conservatives of being “worried about upsetting their dodgy friends in the Middle East”, he said party had “broken their pledge to investigate funding of violent Islamist groups in the UK”.

He added: “That short-sighted approach needs to change. It is critical that these extreme, hard line views are confronted head on, and that those who fund them are called out publicly.”

It comes after Home Secretary Amber Rudd suggested during a leadership debate, that UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia are good for industry.

The Government has recently approved £3.5bn worth of arms export licences to Saudi Arabia and a stream of British ministers have visited the kingdom to solicit trade, despite its ongoing involvement in the bombing campaign in Yemen.

Government figures compiled by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) show the UK has licenced over £4.1 billion of arms to the Middle East since the last election in May 2015, and that two thirds of UK arms exports go to the Middle East. – Independent

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