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Racism is fuelling far-right threat in UK, says MI5 boss

Ken McCallum has warned that the ‘toxic’ issue of racism is fuelling a growing threat from the far right.

The head of MI5 was giving an overview of of threats facing the UK and warned that extreme right wing terrorism was ‘sadly here to stay’, with 10 of 29 attack plots disrupted in the last fours years linked to it. He also said that teenagers as young as 13 drawn into extremist activity, often online, with the threat being fuelled, in part, by racism.

McCallum said: "Racism is a toxic issue that MI5 confronts every day, most visibly in our work to deal with extreme right-wing terrorism. Racism is not the sole and only fuel of that threat, but it is strongly there."

The MI5 head also attacked Facebook and other tech companies for planning to roll out end-to-end encryption for some of its platforms, such as Messenger, thereby making it impossible for the companies to hand over the content of users' messages to the authorities because they would no longer have access themselves.

He said the tech companies had lived up to their responsibility to remove terrorist content from their platforms. But he said he wanted to make a public plea for them to engage seriously with governments - or him personally - to design in public safety alongside privacy in the future.

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