Updated March 2nd, 2024 at 07:15 IST

UK PM Rishi Sunak Accuses Extremists of 'Tearing Apart' the Country in Impromptu No 10 speech

In an impromptu address outside Number 10, UK PM Rishi Sunak said that the extremist groups that are operating in the UK are “trying to tear the country apart".

Reported by: Bhagyasree Sengupta
UK PM Rishi Sunak conducts impromptu press address outside No 10 | Image:X - @RishiSunak
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London – In an impromptu address outside Number 10, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that the extremist groups that are operating in the United Kingdom are “trying to tear the country apart". The proclamation from the British premier came in a hastily arranged press briefing that came hours after George Galloway won a byelection in Rochdale, The Guardian reported. While addressing the media, the Prime Minister condemned what he called a “shocking rise” in extremist disruption in the UK after the devastating October 7 massacre in Israel that eventually prompted the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. 

He went on to claim that the Democracy in Britain is itself in crisis and also took time to condemn the election of Galloway. After garnering a landslide victory in the British constituency, the veteran political agitator said that his victory is dedicated to the people of Gaza, who are struggling amid the raging war. “Don’t let the extremists hijack your marches,” he said, directly addressing those who had taken part in the series of huge protests that engulfed the nation since October. “Don’t let the extremists hijack your marches,” he said, directly addressing those who had taken part in the series of huge protests across the UK," he added. 

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Sunak went on to urge people to show their dissent in a peaceful manner. “You have a chance in the coming weeks to show that you can protest decently, peacefully and with empathy for your fellow citizens. Let us prove these extremists wrong and show them that even when we disagree, we will never be disunited," he said.  “The British people will take no lessons from a prime minister and Conservative party who have sowed the seeds of division for years," the British premier added. 

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Sunak urges police to use their existing power

During the impromptu address, Sunak urged the police to make greater use of existing powers to tackle things such as protesters disrupting political meetings or projecting images onto parliament. “This week, I’ve met with senior police officers and made clear it is the public’s expectation that they will not merely manage these protests, but police them. I say this to the police: we will back you when you take action," he said. Meanwhile, the Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, surprisingly backed Sunak and called for “unity in the country”. “The prime minister is right to advocate unity and to condemn the unacceptable and intimidatory behaviour that we have seen recently. It is an important task of leadership to defend our values and the common bonds that hold us together," Starmer averred. “Citizens have a right to go about their business without intimidation and elected representatives should be able to do their jobs and cast their votes without fear or favour. This is something agreed upon across the parties and which we should all defend," he added. 

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Amid the chaos, Galloway said that he did not understand Sunak's insinuation that he “glorified Hezbollah”. The UK premier insisted that the newly elected MP for Rochdale “dismisses the horror of what happened on October 7”, “glorifies Hezbollah” and is “endorsed by Nick Griffin, the racist former leader of the BNP”. “I’m not responsible for whoever declares they endorse me … I’ve never met Mr Griffin and have no intention to,” Galloway told Channel 5 News. “I don’t know what the glorifying of Hezbollah is all about but maybe he can tell me on Wednesday at prime minister’s questions if he’s got the guts," he added. 

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Published March 2nd, 2024 at 07:15 IST