How Britain will fight ISIS

First, we need a firm security response, whether that is military action to go after the terrorists, international co-operation on intelligence and counter-terrorism or uncompromising action against terrorists at home. On Friday we agreed with our European partners that we will provide equipment directly to the Kurdish forces; we are now identifying what we might supply, from body armour to specialist counter-explosive equipment. We have also secured a United Nations Security Council resolution to disrupt the flows of finance to Isil, sanction those who are seeking to recruit for it and encourage countries to do all they can to prevent foreign fighters joining the extremist cause.

Here in Britain we have recently introduced stronger powers through our Immigration Act to deprive naturalised Britons of their citizenship if they are suspected of being involved in terrorist activities. We have taken down 28,000 pieces of terrorist-related material from the web, including 46 Isil-related videos. And I have also discussed the police response to this growing threat of extremism with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe. The position is clear. If people are walking around with Isil flags or trying to recruit people to their terrorist cause, they will be arrested and their materials will be seized. We are a tolerant people, but no tolerance should allow the room for this sort of poisonous extremism in our country.

Alongside a tough security response, there must also be an intelligent political response. We know that terrorist organisations thrive where there is political instability and weak or dysfunctional political institutions. So we must support the building blocks of democracy – the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, the rights of minorities, free media and association and a proper place in society for the army. None of these things can be imposed by the West. Every country must make its own way. But we can and must play a valuable role in supporting them to do that.