The UK’s Home Office is facing fresh questions over the credibility and lawfulness of a long-delayed review of its contentious Prevent counter-terrorism strategy after being challenged by a human rights advocacy group over the independence of the process.
Rights and Security International (RSI) said on Monday it had written to the Home Office to raise its concerns that the department may have “interfered significantly” in a draft report by reviewer William Shawcross.
Caroline Ott, a solicitor at Leigh Day that is representing RSI, said: “Our client has raised serious concerns about the lawfulness of the ongoing independent review of Prevent and considers that the nature of the interactions between the Home Secretary and the independent reviewer may compromise the review’s ‘independence’.”
RSI published details of redacted emails obtained from the Home Office through a freedom of information request in which members of the review team discussed dealing with “comments and requests” from department officials.
The emails also reveal that then-Home Secretary Priti Patel asked to see a draft of the report in April last year because, according to an email from an official to the review team, she was coming under “significant pressure” from the Home Affairs Select Committee over delays to its completion.
RSI says details of emails and meetings between Home Office officials and William Shawcross’s team suggest significant ‘interference’ in review process