Banning extremists from television would only and increase their influence, Nick Clegg has said.

"If you try and brush people under the carpet what you often end up doing is turning them into more powerful more extremist figures," he said.

In the wake of last week's attack in Woolwich home secretary Theresa May indicated she would look at granting TV regulator OFCOM the power to stop broadcasts of radical preachers.

Her comments followed complaints that the BBC and Channel 4 were wrong to give a platform to Anjem Choudary - the founder of a banned Islamist group Al Muhajiroun.

May said: "I think Anjem Choudary has disgusting views and I think it is right that we look at how those views are being presented and I think there were many people who did indeed say 'What is the BBC doing interviewing Anjem Choudary?"

And faith and communities minister Baroness Warsi, the most senior Muslim in government, said giving Choudary airtime "undermines the painstaking work community organisations do every day to create understanding". She added: "He simply incites hatred and community tension."

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But Clegg told LBC Radio on Thursday morning that for the government to start telling broadcasters who they could and could not interview "would destroy democracy and freedom and the freedom of expression we all treasure".

The Lib Dem leader said the way to counter people like Choudary was for "more moderate Muslim leaders" to speak out against him.

"Choudary does not represent the vast majority of Muslims in this country," he said. "I think abhorrent ideologies are best defeated when they are argued against, when they are demolished, when they are shown up to be as perverted and corrupt as they are."

Clegg said to ban him from the screens would not work. "He would become a hero. He would become a hero in his own community. Far from discrediting his appalling ideology, it would turn him into a figurehead. Is that smart? I don't think that's smart."

SEE ALSO: Liberty Campaigners Warn Against Ban

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  • Michael Adebolajo, 29, has been found guilty of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby by jurors at the Old Bailey.

  • Michael Adebowale

    Michael Adebowale, 22, has been found guilty of the murder of Lee Rigby by jurors at the Old Bailey.

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    Vauxhall Tigra in the compound

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    Michael Adebolajo during police interview

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    Army Bag

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    kitchen knife recovered at the scene.

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    found in the Vauxhall Tigra on the passenger seat.

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    Letter handed by one of defendants to a member of the public (side 2)

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    Letter handed by one of defendants to a member of the public (side 1)

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    Adebowale whilst on the floor raising his gun

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    Adebolajo and Adebowale on the floor

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    Adebolajo falling to the floor

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    Adebolajo walking back to the south footpath of Artillery Place as bus reverses

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    Adebolajo and Adebowale talking to member of the public

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    Adebowale with gun in right hand behind tree

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    Vauxhall Tigra drives westbound Wellington Street, Woolwich, at 13:30hrs, 22 May 2013

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    Adebolajo purchases knife set and sharpener from Argos at 14:13 on 21 May 2013

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    Adebolajo enters Argos in Lewisham at 13:55 on 21 May 2013

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    a still showing bullet damage to a green telephone box

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    a still showing bullet damage to the wall

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    a still of Lee Rigby at Woolwich DLR station on 22 May 2013

  • Latest material from the Lee Rigby murder trial

    The gun used

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The family of Fusilier Lee Rigby, wife Rebecca with son Jack arrive at Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The hearse carrying the coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby arrives at Bury Parish church in Bury, Greater Manchester, ahead of his funeral tomorrow.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The family of Fusilier Lee Rigby, wife Rebecca with son Jack arrive at Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    Mourners including wife Rebecca with son Jack (right) arrive at Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of the funeral of Fusilier Lee Rigby.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is brought to Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The family of Fusilier Lee Rigby, wife Rebecca with son Jack arrive at Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is brought to Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is brought to Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is carried into Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is carried into Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is carried into Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The family of Fusilier Lee Rigby, Wife Rebecca with son Jack leave Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, after a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is carried into Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    Rebecca Rigby carries her son Jack alongside her mother Susan Metcalfe as the leave Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, after a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is brought to Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    Crowds line the streets as coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is brought to Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    Lyn Rigby (centre) the mother of Fusilier Lee Rigby leaves Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, after a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is brought to Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    Aimee West, fiancee of Fusilier Lee Rigby, (second left black stripy top), watches as wife Rebecca Rigby, carrying son Jack, follows the coffin as it arrives at Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is brought to Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is brought into Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is brought to Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is brought to Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is brought to Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The hearse carrying the coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby arrives at Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is brought to Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is brought to Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is carried into Bury Parish church in Greater Manchester, for a vigil on the eve of his funeral.

  • Lee Rigby funeral

    An envelope addressed to Middleton in Manchester and Woolwich in London, sent from Barbados, sent to Rebecca Rigby, wife of murdered soldier Lee Rigby, at the Fusilier Museum in Bury, during a media interview in the run up to her husbands funeral.

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