General election 2017: Politicians spar over security after London Bridge attack
Jeremy Corbyn accuses Theresa May of trying to 'protect the public on the cheap', while PM issues four-point plan to tackle extremism
Security is topping the political agenda following another terror attack on UK soil merely days before voters head to the polls.
The third attack in as many months has sparked a fresh debate about counter-terrorism, with Theresa May yesterday unveiling a new four-point plan to tackle extremism.
"While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is – to be frank – far too much tolerance of extremism in our country," the Prime Minister said.
Her plan includes shutting down safe spaces for extremists in the real world and online and increasing prison terms for even minor terrorism offences.
Critics accused the Prime Minister of politicising the atrocity in London in breach of an agreement to halt the general election campaign yesterday, The Guardian reports.
But Jane Merrick argues in The Independent that May should not be blamed for the political nature of her speech.
Experiencing three attacks in fairly quick succession has shaken the country, she says: "As we are in uncharted territory, there is no rulebook to follow. But it seems like May cannot win and would have faced criticism whatever she had said."
Speaking in Carlisle yesterday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused May of "trying to protect the public on the cheap" as he criticised the Tories' cuts to the police service.
"In a sharp attack upon May’s anti-terror credentials, Labour's leader questioned why the police had faced dramatic cuts under her six-year tenure as home secretary and promised to recruit another 10,000 officers and 1,000 security service agents," the Guardian reports. Security has not previously been seen as a Labour strong suit, particularly under Corbyn, who has voiced doubts about shooting to kill active terrorists and opposed anti-terror legislation.
The past few days have changed the backdrop of the closing stages of the election campaign, says the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg.
"Voters choose their political parties for all sorts of different reasons," she says. "But as this strange election hurtles towards its close, the demand of who can keep the country safe is firmly on the table."
Seven people were killed and 48 injured on Saturday night when three attackers drove a white van into pedestrians on London Bridge and then stabbed revellers outside Borough Market.