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tv   Newsnight  BBC News  March 24, 2017 11:30pm-12:01am GMT

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bottoms. and also would be wearing slip on moccasins, quite relaxed attire, i would say. always gardening. by last year, he popped up in london's east end. there had been searches there two. he moved to birmingham, most recently it seems in ladywood. before that, winson green. he would help me to jump—start my car. he was nice, a nice family. he would drop his kids at school. normal stuff. you would never think anything dodgy, of all of their neighbours on the road. last week, khalid masood returned south to the part of the country where adrian elms had grown up. he stayed here, in this room. he was joking, smiling and friendly. he was a very friendly person when he came in. actually, the receptionist said that he was a lovely guest, she liked him. she put comments in the system.
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that he was a nice guest. and then the nice guest got into his car and drove to westminster bridge. john sweeney reporting there. well, as you heard, khalid masood spent time in three different prisons in his earlier. there has been a well—documented problem of islamist radicalisation within the prison system. last year, ian acheson wrote a report for the government on the issue and joins us now. thank you forjoining me this evening. there is a lot we don't know about khalid masood. yes. but it is very clear but we do know that he spent time in lewes prison, where you spent a short time as a governor there. and a couple of other prisons, weiland and ford, which you visited. can you give me an idea that when you visited them, how aware you would have been of the problem of radicalisation there? firstly, it's important to emphasise that we have no idea at this point in time whether his periods of time in custody were relevant at all to what he became, which was a murderous terrorist. or, whether they had significance.
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so we need to be careful indeed about how we speculate about these things. i spent time working in the three prisoners he has been in during his time in custody. they are very different, lewes prison is a victorian prison, a multifunctional prison that handles a lot of short sentences, local to the community. wayland prison is a rural prison setting a large area, it is category c, medium security prison, which is set over a wide area. ford is a prison which prisoners coming to the end of their sentences, sometimes long sentences, will be in and tested to see if they will survive in open conditions. so there might be an obvious answer to this — where are you more likely to be radicalised, or will there be an experience of being exposed to groups that would be potentially
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wanting to radicalise you? certainly, we did draw attention in the report that i did for michael gove, that i did highlight the fact that while the problem was well understood and contained in the high security prison where the majority of prisoners serving stenton says for terror offences were kept, we were not at all clear in the category c prisons and open prisons in the country, there was the same level of competence, awareness or intervention to be able to know what the extent of the problem was in those prisons —— sentences. or be able to intervene and address that behaviour. if that is the case, how easy is it, then, to identify a prisoner who could be influenced by someone wanting to radicalise a new person in the prison? well, the ingredients for radicalisation, which we concluded from our report, is a real, present and growing danger in this country, it is very simple. you need a charismatic person who can psychologically control and proselytise hateful ideology.
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you need a vulnerable and often highly violent young man, in search of meaning and in prison for a long period of time, who have committed serious crimes, and you need a narrative of grievance. so where you have those three conditions, you will have, in prisons, the ideal environment for growing this phenomenon. so, you've highlighted young, in prison for a long time, or sentenced for a long time, it almost contradicts khalid masood's history? and if you were to look at khalid masood and look at his past, what similarities can you draw, if any, of those who have been radicalised? well the problem is, the routes into and out of radicalised behaviour and terrorist intent are extremely complex. there's been a lot of work and research done by the henry jackson society, into the biographies of prisoners convicted of terror offences, and it is difficult to discern a common to dominate or pattern. it is exceptionally difficult, especially with the lone
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actor terrorists as well, and there is speculation that this man acted alone, but we are not clear yet. the police are actively investigating what support or help or inspiration he may have had. they are particularly difficult to identify. briefly, just coming back to prisons, the word i hear from you is "difficult". the conclusion i have drawn, correct me if i am wrong, but it is impossible to eradicate radicalisation in prisons at this time? i think there is a huge amount of work in prisons to be done to make them places where radicalised behaviour and extremist is driven out, i made a number of recommendations, i am pleased to say that the government have accepted those, in order to deal with the problem. those include separating the most psychologically dangerous extremists from their audiences. so there is intelligence that would suggest that there are a small
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number of people who need separating from people vulnerable to the head for messages, that's one way we can directly interfere with the process of radicalisation, it is an urgent issue and i know the government are tackling it. there are issues about the quality of chaplaincy, the islamist chaplaincy in prisons, they need addressing, and a fundamental issue about support and training for staff, who told us in great numbers that they were fearful of intervening and promoting british values in prisons because they simply did not have that expectation. there are many issues, thank you very much forjoining us. the president who prides himself in being able to drive a hard bargain and always get the deal done has suffered a major setback this evening, despite his determination to repeal and replace obamacare, his bill has failed to pass through congress. president trump ordered that the vote was pulled just moments before it was to take place as support among republican congressmen faded. our correspondent laura bicker is in washington. hello, laura.
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what does this mean for trump and the republicans? when it comes to the republican party, they look like the party of drama, defeat and disappointment. when it came down to it, after seven years of promising to repeal and replace obamacare, when it came down to the moment of asking, theyjust could not do it. they were spared the humiliation of defeat after not calling the vote, but it does look incredibly embarrassing. it is a real setback for the republicans. the right of the party didn't like the bill, neither did the left. it meant they could not find some consensus and serious questions will be asked about their governing abilities going forward. will they be able to make real decisions? real policy decisions. paul ryan, house speaker, dismissed it as a growing pains of his government, but he will have to go away and lick his wounds, wondering how to move forward. president trump has sold himself
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as the ultimate deal—maker and when it came to it, coming to his first attempt at legislation come he came up short. sometimes failure is good? you said there were disagreements at both ends of the party, maybe it is good for him to fail this time around? it is interesting, looking at the states which voted for donald trump, thousands within those states would have lost their current health care insurance if this had gone through. it's interesting to watch the popularity of obamacare, the affordable health care right. during the campaign, under constant attack by republicans, donald trump, and the democrats to properly defend it, the popularity of obamacare went really far down. and it meant people thought there were real problems with it, and there are. some insurance premiums have skyrocketed and for others, they have very little choice when it comes to their health care. but, as the repeal and replace has gone through, as people have been able to look at it and go,
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what will i lose? suddenly, obamacare seems more popular and you are right, it might be better for donald trump to have left things as they are. but the democrats would be the first to admit that something needs to be done. there are problems within this bill. they say it needs nurturing, not neglect. they are calling on their republican colleagues to come together to go forward, but for now, obamacare remains in place. it certainly does, laura, thank you. it's good to talk to you. when nissan announced that it would continue to build new models and invest in its car plant in sunderland after the referendum — there were cheers, not only from the japanese car—maker's employees, but also from british politicians keen to show that the uk was ‘open for business'. theresa may declared it "fantastic news". so what made nissan so confident that a post—brexit britain would be a productive enough environment to keep manufacturing in? chris cook has been digging around
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and is here with new information. this is an intriguing outcome, it was the time and still is and to find out more, you had to submit a freedom of information request? yes, and they are supposed to take 20 working days to come back, this one has taken six months. also, we received this this evening at 6:10pm which is not when you release things if you wantjournalists looking at them carefully. newsnight does not have the same working hours as other news outlets! we ask for a lot, correspondence between nissan and the government and there is a critical letter between greg clark and nissan sent from the government to nissan, the smoking gun which we did not get.
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the release is full of redactions, and unfortunately that is one of the things the government has committed to eventually releasing, but not for now. do we know why not? they say because they have committed to releasing this in the future, they do not need to release this right now, there is a future publication schedule, which is a ridiculous excuse but they are sticking with it. there is a smoking gun and were not allowed to see it yet but we will in the future. but we have got stuff today. among the logistics of setting up meetings and one of the things this shows is how much effort the government was going to see nissan, greg clark went to japan, there were meetings and conference calls and a meeting between somebody from the business department and the chair of nissan on the fringes of the paris motor show but also a letter that gives good detail about what nissan are asking for, not what they were talking about in relation to brexit and trading negotiations, that is redacted but we have something interesting about other things. any company would
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want a shopping list in times of uncertainty. so what nissan have asked for are three things. in mid—october, three things. they wanted tax incentives for people to buy electric cars, they wanted the government to put more money into providing charging points and they wanted a change planning laws so local authorities would have to put in more charging points. and... so that is what they ask for in mid—october and by the end of november, the government had opened a consultation on changing the rules around petrol stations so that they would have to have more charging points, they got a tax incentive for ultralow emission vehicles and the extra money for high—speed charging. i am not going to say the government definitely did what nissan asked
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but it is very striking that all of the specific demands not about brexit that were in the power of the government to deliver, they ask this in mid—october and had them by the end of november. and also, should we make clear that what nissan was asking for, i think most people would not think that was unreasonable? there is not a wild u—turn by the government, it does not show corruption or anything else but it shows that i think it is there to say that the government was clearly listening to nissan and we should point out that last autumn, nick watt was reporting that some of these measures appeared to be just to appease nissan so there is good reason to think these things are connected. we don't know when we will get that letter? some point in the future! we will be back talking about that. thank you. let's go back to the aftermath of wednesday's attack in westminster. the last place that khalid masood was believed to have been living was birmingham — a city that has regularly been linked to islamist extremism. our correspondent david grossman has been to the city where most of the arrests, so far by police in relation
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to the attacker, have taken place. noon in birmingham and a pause for thought. in an itinerant life, khalid masood had connections to many places, but this is where he most recently called home. others are now, rightly or wrongly, looking too for explanations for the murder and destruction he caused. every time there is a terrorist outrage it seems all eyes and quite a few accusing fingers are directed towards birmingham. does the city have a problem? and if so, is enough being done to solve it? do you think birmingham has a problem? i think there is an issue and that is proven statistically, to see the number of arrests that have been made, the number of plots that have been planned shows that there is an issue, a significant in birmingham in relation to the rest of the country. people have got to stand up to this and say, look, this is just not acceptable.
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you are not treading on people's toes, it is not about sensitivities, it is about making sure that what is conformed to, the society that we're part of, and were and young people particularly are being groomed towards radicalisation, we have to call that out and call it out properly. at birmingham central mosque, friday prayers begin with an unequivocal condemnation of the london attack. as evil, the congregation were told, as it was un—islamic. however, when you ask the birmingham mp, khaled mahmud, who needs to do more to challenge the processes that lead to radicalisation, top of his list are the city's religious leaders. you can only challenge them if you happen to know where they are. and then we're quite happy to challenge them them. because i think the situation is that these people do these activities by reading the literature from all these websites. and all these electronic gadgets are so freely available. people learn
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radicalisation from those. mosques do not teach them to become radicalised. but muhammad afzal is notjust the chairman of the mosque. he is a long—standing and prominent labour councillor here. birmingham is a city where religion and politics mix. according to labour's opponents, the result is an unhealthy political stagnation. we all know that the way voting works in many communities, you have the block vote, the clan vote, the postal vote and we know that they are i—party states, if you will, and selections are often made by families and packing political parties. so it is difficult to achieve change through the ballot box and often it is not in people's interests to really rock the vote. it leads to all sorts of issues. it leads to disempowerment, it leads to poverty, it leads to people not being able
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to participate in society and one of those consequences is that it allows radicalisation to breed unchecked. this is sparkbrook. it is one of two parliamentary constituencies identified by recent reports as accounting for three quarters of birmingham's islamist terrorist offences. this group of lads blame social media, definitely not this community. what has been going on in london and all these links and everything, we're the first people to speak up about these things and say, we don't agree with what is going on and we are deeply sorry for the people that have been hurt and to their families as well. answering the question, i don't think... in sparkbrook, i don't think there is radicalisation but it is easy to say because this area, the majority are muslim people that live here. and it is easy to target this area or certain areas and say, these areas are radicalised and so on. we think that this is a tight—knit community and there is a lot of love. mohammed ashfak is the director
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of kikit, an organisation that, with public money, tries to turn round vulnerable lives. radicalisation, they believe, is the same product as other social ills. we stopped two youngsters from going over to syria that had a range of issues, they were addicted to drugs and they were very vulnerable. they actually have their tickets booked, they were going to fly over and they were being groomed by going online and watching videos of isis. it is safeguarding, that is how we approached it right from the beginning. and people who try and radicalise other people, it is a grooming process, the same way you get with child sexual exploitation. just the same way as you get with any other grooming process. say no in our name as muslims. at the birmingham bullring there was another vigil today. very different from the one outside the town hall earlier. this has been organised by a group called stand up to racism and the concern here is that the crimes of a few are being used to
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stigmatise and divide. the fact that awful things happen does not mean that everything is failing. it could be a lot worse. and i think the onus should be on how do we come together, how do we prevent these things happening? but at the same time, how do we do so in a manner that doesn't give more oxygen to the very people who celebrate atrocities like this. and i would say those people are two kinds. people like isis, who want to betray an image that they are stronger than they are. and also the far right groups, who then exploit the tensions that arise after incidents like this. that is what we should be looking at, taking that step back and thinking, is this a helpful way to respond? how do we frame the problem and get to the roots and address the real issues? although another terrorist attack linked to birmingham causes discomfort here, in a sense it makes agreement easier. everyone condemns and everyone extends sympathy. what is far harder to find, though, is a consensus on its causes
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and its solutions. let's discuss the root causes of these problems — i'm joined by david goodhart, author of the road to somewhere and miqdaad versi from the muslim council of britain. do you recognise the picture in that report? integration and multiculturalism failing in places like that? i do recognise that picture and i think the terrorist attack in westminster was from a man who was alone will, unbalanced, but we clearly have a problem with islamic extremism in britain, 3000 people under constant surveillance and even if you take the 3% in certain opinion polls who support violent extremism, that are still 100,000 british muslims, a worrying figure. muslims tend to live somewhat more segregated than other minorities. is that fair? it is worth challenging
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one of those points, 3% of muslims sympathise with terrorism, the previous icn poll showed that 4% of the general population sympathise with terrorism. lots of opinion polls said 7% or 8% of the muslim community. the point is, the way we ask the question presents a certain answer and a 4% of the population have sympathy with terrorism, that would be hundreds of thousands of people so let us move away from the idea that muslims sympathise with terrorism. a very small number. this is not scaremongering. how can we prevent these kids, most of them are kids were young men, getting diverted on their life track into this new identity, this disaffected identity that seems to be attractive to them. this is a problem for liberal societies, to provide attractive
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national identities for all of our kids. all of our kids should belong to britain and feel that britain belongs to them and it seems to be quite difficult in our kind of society to provide those identities. you said that young people, khalid masood was 52? a disproportionate number are under 35. we firstly have to distinguish between the idea of segregation and extremism, the idea that one leads to another is not a simple process that is clear, people who are segregated are more like to be extremists. i don't think there is evidence. i would agree, extremists come from everywhere, all levels of education, people who have been to cambridge. segregation is not the problem? it is a problem in itself and it is a separate problem,
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it may have some relation to extremism in some cases but the fact that muslims live more separately from the rest of society than other minorities is an issue that we should continue to talk about and do something about. birmingham is a very segregated city but it goes back several decades when many of the white people moved to north fields and different minorities became concentrated in particular areas and we can learn from the mistakes of the past and allowing that to happen, to lean against those clustering tendencies. it is worth noting that muslims have become less segregated in the last ten years and many reports sure we're doing a lot of positive things. we sometimes do not celebrate our diversity. if you look that great role models, the mayor of london, nadiya hussain. is that the way to improve the situation?
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to make sure that perhaps if you are a strong faith, you are not seen as someone outside the group willing to integrate? and make it clear that young muslims have very good opportunities in this country, many muslims are concentrated in the bottom part of the income spectrum but lots of muslims are not and even some of the muslim groups like bangladeshis who have historically not done so well educationally or in the economy and they are starting to do a lot better. as many bangladeshi youths go to russell group universities as white british kids and that is quite an achievement. what is to be done when we look at birmingham and say there is a problem and we can see sources of extremism and councillors admit there is a problem. what is the solution? we need to identify exactly what the problem is and do different things, in birmingham we have sparkbrook or different cases where there are significant numbers of arrests of people who have been
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accused of terrorism but if you remove one of those rates, resulting in 14 people arrested, the percentage is similar to the rest of the country so we have to be careful but —— careful about looking at figures and when it comes to birmingham, the people on the ground, the grassroots community, they are the people we need to look at to search for the right brain. there is very little that can be done about somebody with a knife who comes into parliament. —— the right way. the opinion poll a few months ago showed that most muslims have the same political worries as the rest of the population, there is not a huge gap but we have quite large parts of the muslim leadership in this country who do paint a very negative picture of the country, particularly those from an islamist background, and we want the muslim leadership to be more positive about britain in some ways and help provide those images and ideas. great to talk to both of you.
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thank you very much for your time. that's all we have time for. your latest live weather update from bbc weather. chilly nights this weekend, a touch of frost around. already below freezing in parts of scotla nd already below freezing in parts of scotland and northern ireland. by day, with this high pressure, they will be some sun. look at it centred right across the uk. the weather ingredients this weekend will be plenty of settled weather, as you can imagine, with high pressure. lots of sunshine to come. it will be warm, but easy. —— and breezy. those chilly nights, a bit of frost in
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place. one of those chilly nights is under way now. lower temperatures across parts of northern england, northern ireland and scotland. always colder away from the larger urban centres. rural spot will get below freezing, as some already are across the uk we are looking at widespread frost on the grass as saturday begins. they usually start to saturday. there is an exception to saturday. there is an exception to the sunshine theme. the far north of scotland, and the shetlands on saturday, some outbreaks of rain, most of that light. a view fog patches developing overnight mist and luke lowden parts of lincolnshire and the midlands. it shouldn't last too long in the morning before that disappears. look at the strength of the wind blowing through east anglia and south—east england, along the south coast. it isa england, along the south coast. it is a notable feature of the weather, just as it was today. you need to be
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out of the breeze to take advantage of the sunshine, but i think it will be struck away from the north of scotla nd be struck away from the north of scotland by just how be struck away from the north of scotland byjust how much sunshine there is. if you are exposed to the wind on the north sea coast, maybe just ten or ii wind on the north sea coast, maybe just ten or 11 degrees, but elsewhere it could be 15 or 16. it should eagan on saturday night. the clocks go forward one hour, the beginning of dish summertime. —— british summertime. if you like more sunlight in the evening, these are your sunset times on sunday. that will be plenty of that sunshine again on sunday, maybe a bit of cloud filtering and through the day. still breezy in this other parts. cloudy in the northern isles, and again they will the warmth in that sunshine, particularly through western parts of the uk. 15 or 16 celsius could be yours. a glorious blue sky weekend on the way for the vast majority of the uk. a more details forecast is
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available online. this is bbc news. our top stories: president trump is forced to abandon his healthcare bill after some republicans threatened to rebel. i have been saying for the last year and a half, that the best thing we can do, politically speaking, is to let obamaca re explode. can do, politically speaking, is to let obamacare explode. it is exploding now. the westminster attacker: police try to find out if khalid masood was working alone and what motivated his actions. marine le pen is invited to the kremlin by vladimir putin.
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