May, Corbyn spar over terror attack before Thursday UK poll
Britain’s main politicians sparred over deep cuts in police funding under the ruling Conservative Party as police identified two of the men involved in the London Bridge attack as Khuram Butt and Rachid Redouane.world Updated: Jun 05, 2017 23:03 IST
Saturday’s terror attack in London was top of the agenda as political parties resumed campaigning on Monday for the June 8 mid-term election, with Labour holding deep cuts in police funding under Conservative rule since 2010 responsible for the assault.
Prime Minister Theresa May defended the cuts and set out plans to increase funding and powers to the police if her party won the election, as London mayor Sadiq Khan announced a vigil on Monday evening in memory of the seven people killed in the attack.
Reports said the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, though experts raised doubts about the authenticity of the claim. Life was back to normal in London Bridge and Borough Market as transport links closed after the attack were reopened.
However, there was an increased presence of armed police in public places. Raids and arrests were continuing as police said the identity of the three assailants was known.
Scotland Yard named two of the attackers as Khuram Shazad Butt, of Pakistani origin, and Moroccan-origin Rachid Redouane, both from Barking in east London. Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said Butt was known to security services but there was no evidence of “attack planning”.
Following the criticism from Corbyn, who said forces lost 20,000 policemen due to Conservative cuts in funding, May said: “We have given increased powers to the police to be able to deal with terrorists, powers which Jeremy Corbyn has boasted he has always opposed.”
Corbyn said: “As Labour set out in our manifesto, we will recruit another 10,000 new police officers including more armed police who need to be properly rewarded as well as 1,000 more security services staff to support our communities and help keep us safe.”
Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrats leader, said: “Theresa May must level with the British people and accept that on her watch armed officer numbers were cut. She asks us to trust her on security but the truth is as home secretary she cut armed officers and cut community police numbers.”
Health officials said 21 people remained in a critical condition in hospitals, including three police officers. The police thanked the media for not speculating about the identity of the three attackers.
After a suicide bomber killed 22 people in Manchester on May 22, British police and politicians were furious when US media, citing intelligence sources, named the perpetrator and published photos of evidence from the scene.