February 26, 2019 / 4:43 PM / 3 months ago

UK must justify Hezbollah ban expansion, opposition Labour Party says

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid is seen outside of Downing Street in London, Britain, February 19, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s opposition Labour Party said on Tuesday that interior minister Sajid Javid had to provide evidence to justify his decision to widen a ban on the Lebanese Islamist movement Hezbollah.

Britain said on Monday it plans to ban all wings of Hezbollah due to its destabilising influence in the Middle East, classing the movement as a terrorist organisation.

“The Home Secretary must therefore now demonstrate that this decision was taken in an objective and impartial way, and driven by clear and new evidence, not by his leadership ambitions,” a Labour spokesman said.

Asked about the comments, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said it was for Labour to explain their decision.

“Hezbollah itself has publicly denied a distinction between its military and political wings. The group in its entirety is assessed to be concerned in terrorism,” he added.

“The links between the senior leaders of Hezbollah’s political and military wings as well as the group’s destabilising role in the region mean that the distinction between the two wings is now untenable.”

Reporting by William James and Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison

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