Conservatives and Labour begin London Bridge attack blame game
Both parties accused of trying to capitalise on deadly attack
Both the Conservatives and Labour have been accused of “politicising” the London Bridge terror attack, after Boris Johnson vowed to end the early release of terrorists following Friday’s fatal events.
Appearing in what The Independent called a “combative edition” of the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, the prime minister said that if the Tories win a majority next week, terrorists would serve their entire sentence, would no longer be eligible for early release and would spend at least 14 years behind bars.
The Times says Johnson has “sought to prevent a public relations setback” over the release of Usman Khan, a convicted terrorist who was shot dead on Friday after killing two people and wounding three.
“The aftermath of the attack has become an increasingly politicised election issue” says The Guardian. “In the interview Johnson repeatedly sought to make political capital over the attack”, the newspaper adds.
The prime minister blamed the release on legislation brought in under “a leftie government", insisting that the automatic release scheme was introduced by Labour. But when challenged about what the Conservatives had done to change the law over the past 10 years in government, he repeatedly sought to distance his party.
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Johnson was also challenged on the role of cuts to police, probation services and the judicial system over the past decade, with Labour blaiming budget cuts for “missed chances to intervene”. The Telegraph reports that Khan wrote to his lawyer to ask to be enrolled in a programme of deradicalisation while in jail.
Jeremy Corbyn branded the release “a complete disaster” and has called for a “very full investigation”.
The BBC says “both parties have been accused of politicising the attack”, with Liberal Democrat deputy leader Ed Davey telling Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that he was “alarmed” at Johnson’s reaction to the London Bridge attack.
"In the middle of an election, we shouldn't be making political capital out of a tragedy, and he's doing that, and he's doing that in a way which is misleading people about what the law actually says.”
The father of Jack Merritt, the first of Khan’s victims to be named, said that his son “would not wish his death to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences or for detaining people unnecessarily”. Merritt, a University of Cambridge graduate, worked to help rehabilitate prisoners.
The second victim was yesterday named as 23-year-old Cambridge University graduate Saskia Jones.