30 August 2014
Last updated at 07:55
IS extremists are trying to establish a “caliphate” – or Islamic state
David Cameron and Nick Clegg will hold talks over the weekend to try to reach agreement on new measures to tackle the threat posed by Islamist extremists.
The negotiations come after the UK’s terror threat level was raised from “substantial” to “severe” in response to mounting conflict in Iraq and Syria.
The PM will make a Commons statement on Monday to propose new powers to stop would-be terrorists travelling abroad.
It comes as Labour wants more action to stop Britons being drawn to extremism.
The party’s leader Ed Miliband suggested the introduction of a “mandatory programme” of deradicalisation for people “drawn into the fringes of extremism”.
Writing in the Independent, he also urged the government to revisit the decision to scrap the control orders regime for terror suspects.
His calls come after warnings from the prime minister that the group calling itself the Islamic State (IS), fighting in Syria and northern Iraq, posed an unprecedented risk to the UK.
Speaking on Friday, Mr Cameron said the “threat is growing” from Britons travelling to fight with IS, adding that there were “gaps in our armoury” that needed to be strengthened.
The new alert level rates the risk of an attack on the UK “highly likely”, although Downing Street has said there was no evidence to suggest one was “imminent”.
It is the second highest of five possible UK threat levels.
The prime minister is expected to consider strengthening terrorism prevention and investigation measures
Talks between Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg come after the Conservatives have said they wanted to make it easier to seize the passports of would-be terrorists travelling abroad.
The home secretary already has the power – under the Royal Prerogative – to withhold a passport if it is in the public interest to stop somebody travelling.
Mr Cameron is also likely to consider strengthening terrorism prevention and investigation measures – or Tpims – which were the coalition’s replacement for control orders.
However, the Liberal Democrats have said they would only agree to policies that were made calmly, on the basis of evidence and that maintained the liberty of British citizens.
‘Bombs and rockets’
Former Conservative defence secretary Liam Fox said he believed there should be intervention to deal with IS – including military action if necessary.
“We have to stop where we can the sale of oil on the black market from which it derives all its money, we’ve got to stop the flow of money from sympathetic groups within the region,” Mr Fox told the BBC’s Newsnight.
“I think we need to disrupt the command and control and supply lines of ISIS, and that will require air strikes along with the United States if we’re asked to do so.
“I think it’s also important that the West provides air cover, close air cover for any ground offensive counter attack by the Iraqis or the Kurds.”
He added that any strategy had to be proportionate, limited, diplomatic, financial and political.
“But if you do require a military element to complete that strategy, you should be willing to do it,” he said.
However, former Liberal Democrats leader Lord Ashdown argued that diplomacy was vital to limit the risk from jihadists.
“I think we have got to get away from this idea which says that in response to everything in the Middle East our answer is bombs and rockets,” he said.
Lord Ashdown added that the government was unwise to concentrate on the “threat of jihadis coming home”.
He warned that the bigger threat was a potential “regional war” in the Middle East, which would be religious and result in the changing of borders.