Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said on Sunday the group aimed to fight radicalism in schools and mosques, tighten checks on inflammatory internet material, and disrupt the “poisonous narrative” of hardline clerics.

“It will assess the range of strategies to disrupt individuals who may be influential in fostering extremism. It needs to confront those religious leaders who promote violence head on,” it said in a statement…

Opposition Labour lawmaker Hazel Blears said people vulnerable to radicals were spotted too late and government cuts had weakened the fight against them. She told the Observer newspaper the government had “abandoned the territory”.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair tried to tighten rules against hate preachers after the London bombings in 2005 that killed 52 commuters. The measures stirred a long debate about how to balance free speech and civil rights with a strong counter-terrorism strategy.