Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made a statement outside 10 Downing Street late on Friday (March 1).

The Prime Minister spent Friday in Scotland, giving a speech to the Scottish Conservative conference in the afternoon.

Shortly after the Conservative leader had finished taking questions from party members in Aberdeen, No 10 confirmed he would be travelling immediately to London where he intended to make public remarks.

What did Rishi Sunak say in Downing Street statement?

George Galloway appointment

In his announcement on Friday (March 1) the Prime Minister said the victory of George Galloway in the Rochdale by-election is “beyond alarming”.

Newham Recorder: See what Rishi Sunak said in his announcement on Friday.See what Rishi Sunak said in his announcement on Friday. (Image: James Manning)

Speaking outside Downing Street Mr Sunak said: “In recent weeks and months, we have seen a shocking increase in extremist disruption and criminality.

“What started as protests on our streets have descended into intimidation, threats and planned acts of violence.

“Jewish children fearful to wear their school uniform lest it reveals their identity. Muslim women abused in the street for the actions of a terrorist group they have no connection with.

“Now our democracy itself is a target. Council meetings and local events have been stormed. MPs do not feel safe in their homes. Long-standing parliamentary conventions have been upended because of safety concerns.

“And it’s beyond alarming that last night, the Rochdale by-election returned a candidate that dismisses the horror of what happened on October 7, who glorifies Hezbollah and is endorsed by Nick Griffin, the racist former leader of the BNP.”

"Forces here at home trying to tear us apart”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said “there are forces here at home trying to tear us apart” since October 7, 2023.

He said: “We are a country where we love our neighbours and we are building Britain together. But I fear that our great achievement in building the world’s most successful multi-ethnic, multi-faith democracy is being deliberately undermined.

“There are forces here at home trying to tear us apart. Since October 7th, there have been those trying to take advantage of the very human angst that we all feel about the terrible suffering that war brings to the innocent, to women and children, to advance a divisive, hateful ideological agenda.

“On too many occasions recently, our streets have been hijacked by small groups who are hostile to our values and have no respect for our democratic traditions.

“Membership of our society is contingent on some simple things that you will abide by the rule of law. And that change can only come through the peaceful democratic process. Threats of violence and intimidation are alien to our way of doing things. They must be resisted at all times.

“Nearly everyone in Britain supports these basic values. But there are small and vocal hostile groups who do not. Islamist extremists, and the far right feed off and embolden each other. They are equally desperate to pretend that their violence is somehow justified, when actually these groups are two sides of the same extremist coin.”

Government will support police taking action against extremist protests

Rishi Sunak said the Government will support the police when they take action during extremist protests.

He said he made clear while meeting with senior police officers that “it is the public’s expectation that they will not only manage these protests but police them.”

“And I say this to the police: we will back you when you take action,” he added.

“But if we are asking more of the police, we, the Government, must back up that call with action.”

“This month the Government will implement a new robust framework with how we deal with this issue to ensure we are dealing with the root cause of this problem and that no extremist groups or organisations are being leant legitimacy by their actions and interactions with central Government,” he said.


“You cannot be part of our civil life if you’re agenda is to tear it down.”

Mr Sunak said they will re-double support their for the Prevent program, will demand universities stop extremist activity on campus, act to prevent people from entering the country who’s “aim is to undermine its values”.

He also said the Home Secretary has instructed that those in the UK on visas who choose to “spew hate” will have their right to be in the country removed.

Britain must not descend into polarised camps

Mr Sunak said: “Our Britain must not be a country in which we descend into polarised camps with some communities living parallel lives.

“It is not enough to live side by side. We must live together, united by shared values and a shared commitment to this country.”

Speaking to those still wishing to protest, he said: “Don’t let the extremists hijack your marches. You have a chance in the coming weeks to show that you can protest decently, peacefully and with empathy for your fellow citizens.

“Let’s prove these extremists wrong and show that even when we disagree we will never be disunited from our common values of decency and respect.

“I love this country, my family and I owe it so much. The time has now come for us all to stand together to combat the forces of division and beat this poison.

“We must face down the extremists that would tear us apart. There must be leadership, not pandering or appeasement. When they tell their lies, we will tell the truth. When they try to sap our confidence, we will redouble our efforts and when they try to make us doubt each other we will dig deeper for that extra ounce of compassion and empathy that they want us to believe doesn’t exist but I know does.”

Mr Sunak continued: “If we do that, we can build on our great achievement of creating today’s Britain.”

He ended the speech calling Britain a country of “kind, decent, tolerant people”.

“We can make this a country in which we all feel a renewed sense of pride. This is our home,” he said.

“So let us all go forward together confident in our values and confident in our future.”