by Paul Goodman
Robert Halfon raised the matter of Engage and the proposed All-Party Group on Islamophobia yesterday –
"Robert Halfon (Harlow) (Con): Will the Leader of the House find time for an urgent statement on iEngage, the secretariat of the newly formed all-party parliamentary group on Islamophobia? iEngage has a track record of being aggressively anti-Semitic and homophobic, and has extensive links with terrorism in Tunisia and the middle east. In its capacity as the secretariat, it now has access to the parliamentary estate. Will the Leader of the House raise the issue with the Serjeant at Arms as soon as possible?
Sir George Young: The Serjeant at Arms will have heard what my hon. Friend has said. As he knows, I announced a few moments ago that there would be debate on all-party parliamentary groups on Monday evening, and it will provide an appropriate forum for him to develop his case."
I've previously written at length about the project on this site, setting out in detail why an alternative arrangement should be made. Both the proposed Chairman and Vice-Chairman took a similar view, and have quit the enterprise. I can't remember an occasion when an all-party group – usually the most uncontroversial of vehicles – has caused such contension and division.