Press release

Nick Clegg sets out vision for an open, confident Britain

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has set out his vision for an open, confident Britain in the fight against extremism.

Speaking at the Chaud End Centre in Luton, Nick Clegg said confidence in ourselves and our communities will ensure Britain remains an “open, liberal nation”. 

He said:

Openness and confidence go hand in hand: remaining open to different cultures and attitudes is easier for people, communities and nations that are confident of their own position.

This means that fear and insecurity are among the most dangerous enemies of openness and liberalism.

He warned, however, that this vision “faces serious challenges. Most obviously, the grave threat of home-grown terrorism.”

Whilst acknowledging that the overwhelming majority of devout people of all faiths reject violence and terrorism, Nick Clegg spoke of the threat posed by nationalistic and racist extremists. He said:

The Government is committed to tackling hate crimes against any group - gay people, Jews, women, black people or Muslims.

He said this challenge will be met through smart engagement in defence of an open society, unending determination to keep doing the hard work of maintaining a liberal society at home and encouraging the birth and growth of liberal societies abroad.

Nick Clegg concluded:

Maintaining a liberal, open nation also demands a fierce allegiance to shared values. The values of liberal citizenship. The values of responsibility, tolerance and openness.

In the end, these values are the only weapons that can defeat the terrorists and hate-mongers, at home and abroad.

Violent extremists of all kinds are the enemies of open societies. We will wage an unceasing battle against them. And we will win.

Speeches and transcripts: Read the speech