Nick Clegg Distances Himself From David Cameron on Violent Extremism

3 March 2011

Nick Clegg has set out a rival government vision for combating violent extremism, striking a different tone from David Cameron’s month-old doctrine to disengage from extremists.

In a speech in Luton, Clegg disagreed with Cameron’s disavowal of multiculturalism, was hesitant about moves to ban extremist groups and said he did not share the prime minister’s wish to rule out engaging with non-violent extremists. He pointed to his decision to allow one of his ministers to attend the Global Peace and Unity conference – which occasionally hosts controversial Islamic scholars – while Tory chairwoman Sayeeda Warsi was forced to pull out.

In contrast to the timing of Cameron’s speech in Munich – the same day as an English Defence League rally in Luton – the deputy prime minister delivered his speech in Luton on Thursday, where he deployed a more emollient tone.