Ministers are aiming to pass emergency legislation to block the automatic early release of convicted terrorism offenders before the next one is due to be freed in three weeks time.

The measures are being introduced after three recent incidents involving men who had been convicted of terror offences.

Sunderland shopkeeper Mohammed Zahir Khan, 42, is expected to be released on 28 February after serving half of his sentence for encouraging terrorism.

The offender was arrested in 2017 and given a four-and-a-half year sentence in May 2018 after pleading guilty.

The government’s emergency measures, which require backing from Parliament, would postpone his release until the Parole Board has given its approval.

The UK has the highest prison population and the worst re-offending rate in Europe.

John Shepherd, chief executive of Trailblazers Mentoring, which supports young offenders, said: “there is a correlation there”.

Shepherd believes that the government should “invest much more into how you work with people inside prisons.”

“There is a serious problem with re-offending in this country. A simple extension to their release on its own is not the solution.”