Justin Tomlinson MP

Justin Tomlinson MP

MP For North Swindon

Swindon Advertiser Column - We Need To Protect Our Society From Extremism

An issue that many residents have raised in my inbox is the growing concerns around extremism.

Yesterday we announced a new approach to counter extremism as we deliver on our commitment to stamp out this threat, ensuring we keep our communities safe and country secure. We need to protect our society from those who want to subvert and undermine our democracy. We must ensure they are properly identified and are not funded, which is why we are strengthening the definition of extremism as we continue to protect our people and our democracy. We are taking the necessary next steps to confront and deter those who advocate for violent extremism and tackle the anti-British ideas that undermine our democracy, creating intimidation and fear ideologues.

We are proud and enriched by our diverse communities so it is absolutely right we preserve the UK as one of the most successful multi-ethic countries in the world – we will not let extremism undermine this.

Last week saw International Women’s Day, which celebrated the achievements of women. As part of the day I visited Kingsdown School as year 7 & 8 took part in football game as part the FA’s Biggest Ever Football Session. The event formed part of the FA’s Let Her Play campaign, which aims to give girls equal access to football at school. More than 5,000 schools across England took part in the session, and the Kingsdown girls joined 465,000 other girls taking part across the country.

I had the opportunity to take part and used the opportunity to utilise my Football Manager experience to issue some tactical instructions, I suspect much to the bemusement of my teams players! I was very impressed with the level of skill on show, and despite sustained pressure my team managed to hold on for a gritty draw – nothing was getting past our keeper! It was great to see the girls enjoying the game so much, a huge well done to PE Teacher Paige Foot for organising such a great event.

International Women’s Day is about championing inspirational women, and we have seen England’s Lionesses inspire girls across the country to take up football. It is vital that schools harness this enthusiasm to create the next generation of Lionesses.

I attended an event hosted by Dogs Trust as part of its campaign to tackle puppy smuggling. Throughout my time as an MP I have worked hard to highlight the horrors of puppy smuggling, working with a number of charities – including: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, the Kennel Club, and Pup Aid.

In 2014, I helped lead a cross-party debate on the issue of puppy & kitten smuggling - the first major debate on the issue in the House of Commons ever. The campaign was backed by more than 140,000 people across the country (including thousands from Swindon) who signed a Parliamentary petition set up by Marc Abrahams and the Pup Aid campaign. I will continue to raise the issue with Ministers and do all I can to end this cruel practice.

Finally, I joined members of Swindon’s Ghanaian community to attend its 67th Independence Celebration Dance Party. I very much enjoyed the evening, there was some fantastic traditional dancing and excellent speeches. It was a pleasure to meet everyone and learn more about the history of Ghana and see the pride Ghanaians have for their country. A huge thank you to the community for inviting me and welcoming me so warmly.

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