The Home Office is facing calls to release a report called Leftwing Activism and Extremism in the UK, which has been prepared by its extremism analysis unit (EAU).
Jenny Jones, one of several politicians and activists whose inclusion on a domestic extremist database previously caused a furore, are among those expressing concerns about the report after its existence was revealed by a freedom of information request by the Guardian.
Jones said: “Over the past decade, the police have become more and more confused about their duty to facilitate peaceful protest and are prone to see any disruption as extremist. The Met police put me on their domestic extremist database for years, when I was a member of their own oversight body, the Police Authority and deputy mayor of London,” said Jones.
“It is deeply worrying that the Home Office has a report that must include definitions of extremism that many people would see as far too broad, when protest and dissent are necessary within a democracy.”
An FOI request by the Guardian found that the Home Office’s EAU – which was established by Theresa May in 2015 and has been involved in drawing up a blacklist of individuals and organisations with whom the government and public sector should not engage – has produced, or is planning to produce, more than 21 reports.
Three have titles indicating they are focused on the far right, such as Impact of Far Right Ideology on Young People and Rightwing Extremism – UK Groups.
Three others contained the word “Islamist”, including How Islamist Extremists Gain Legitimacy. Others appear to be focused on the impact or reaction to terror events of recent years, such as Manchester Attack One Week On – Reaction and London Bridge Attack Islamophobic Sentiments.
The list also contained reports called UK Sikh Nationalism and Women and Girls in Extremism.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The work by the extremism analysis unit helps improve our understanding of all types of extremism and guide how we should respond.”
Detailing the work of the EAU when she was home secretary, May said the unit would “help us to develop a new engagement policy – which will set out clearly for the first time with which individuals and organisations the government and public sector should engage and should not engage”.
The EAU was also involved in developing a “counter-entryism” strategy to tackle Islamist radicalisation and ensure there is no repeat of the Trojan horse affair in Birmingham schools across the public sector.