London terror attack: Jeremy Corbyn tells Theresa May ‘you cannot protect the public on the cheap’

The Labour leader criticised the Prime Minister over police cuts

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Indy Politics

Jeremy Corbyn has torn into Theresa May’s security record in the wake of the London Bridge attack, accusing her of trying to “protect the public on the cheap”.

In a speech in Carlisle, the Labour leader highlighted the 20,000 police officers cut while Ms May was Home Secretary and Prime Minister, and said the police “must get the resources they need”.

Speaking less than 24 hours after the latest terror outrage following a short political truce, the Labour leader also said the aim of terrorists was “plainly to derail our democracy” – and that the election must not be postponed.

Pointing the finger again at Ms May’s record, Mr Corbyn said the “difficult conversations” suggested by the Prime Minister in her Downing Street speech on Sunday morning should start “with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have funded and fuelled extremist ideology”.

“Our priority must be public safety and I will take whatever action is necessary and effective to protect the security of our people and our country,” Mr Corbyn told his audience. 

“That includes full authority for the police to use whatever force is necessary to protect and save life as they did last night, as they did in Westminster in March.

“You cannot protect the public on the cheap. The police and security services must get the resources they need, not 20,000 police cuts.

“Theresa May was warned by the Police Federation but she accused them of ‘crying wolf’.

“We will recruit another 10,000 new police officers, including more armed police, as well as 1,000 more security services staff to support our communities and help keep us safe.”

The Labour leader said a report critical of Saudi Arabia’s alleged financing of terror – allegedly suppressed by Ms May – should be released.

He added: “Our democratic values must be maintained. We must resist Islamophobia and division and turn out on 8 June united in our determination to show our democracy is strong. And, yes, we do need to have some difficult conversations starting with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have funded and fuelled extremist ideology.

“It is no good Theresa May suppressing a report into the foreign funding of extremist groups. We have to get serious about cutting off the funding to these terror networks, including Isis, here and in the Middle East.”

Police officers, including the Police Federation, have previously warned that cuts to budgets are making terror policing harder. Soldiers were deployed to protect buildings and landmarks around Britain last month after senior police officers said they did not have the resources to police the sites without extra manpower.

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Ms May said Britain needs to be far more robust in identifying extremism and stamping it out (AFP/Getty)

Conservative security minister Ben Wallace attacked Mr Corbyn’s speech: “This was a hastily arranged speech designed to help Jeremy Corbyn run from his record on counter-terrorism policy, but it failed.

“He has boasted about opposing every single counter-terror law, opposed the use of shoot to kill, and gave cover to the IRA when they bombed and shot our citizens. Voters will judge him on his views and actions in the last 30 years, not his desperate promises and evasive soundbites three days out from polling day.”

Ms May gave a speech outside No 10 on Sunday morning laying out her proposals for how to stop future terror attacks. She called for regulation of the internet and less tolerance of Islamist extremism.

She said Britain had “made significant progress in recent years” combating extremism but that the country needed “to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out”.

The PM went on to warn there was “a new trend in the threat we face” and that while the three recent terror attacks in the UK were not linked by “common networks”, they were “bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism”.

“We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed – yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide,” Ms May said, reiterating a previous call for internet regulation.

“We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements to regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning.”

Saturday night’s attack at London Bridge was the third terror attack on the UK in three months. A car and knife attack on Westminster in March left five people dead, while a bomb attack at a concert in Manchester two weeks ago killed 22.

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