As it happenedended1575157682

London Bridge attack: First victim named as pressure mounts on Johnson for investigation into release of convict taught by Anjem Choudary

Security minister confirms police are not looking for more suspects in investigation

Conrad Duncan,Peter Stubley
Sunday 01 December 2019 00:19
London Bridge attack: What we know so far

Labour and the Conservatives sought to blame each other for the release of the convicted terrorist who killed two people in London Bridge on Friday.

Prime minister Boris Johnson and home secretary Priti Patel both claimed that Jeremy Corbyn’s party was responsible for the law that meant 28-year-old Usman Khan was freed on licence half way through his 16-year sentence.

Meanwhile former shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper questioned what action the government took to assess the risks posed by the attacker, and both Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, pointed to cuts made to public services over the last decade.

The attacker, who was convicted of terrorism offences in 2012 and released last December, was fatally shot by police at about 2pm on Friday.

One of the victims has been named as 25-year-old Jack Merritt, who worked as a course coordinator for the prisoners’ rehabilitation programme holding the event at Fishmongers’ Hall.

His father David described him as “an exceptional young man” and called for greater funding of probation services monitoring released prisoners.

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Welcome to The Independent's live coverage of the response to Friday's terror attack on London Bridge.

Conrad Duncan30 November 2019 08:44

Sadiq Khan has told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “you can't disaggregate terrorism and security from cuts made to resources of the police, of probation, the tools that judges have.”

Speaking on Saturday morning, Mr Khan said: “The key thing is we need to support the police and security service.

“And of course politicians can't use trite words and trite language after a terror attack. The key thing is to remind ourselves of two things.

“First is yesterday we saw the very best of Londoners, but also, secondly, we've got to make sure the right lessons are learnt.”

Conrad Duncan30 November 2019 08:49

The University of Cambridge has also released a statement this morning.

Professor Stephen J Toope, the vice chancellor, said he was “devastated” to learn the attack may have been targeting people attending an event organised by the university.

It was reported yesterday that the attacker was attending a University of Cambridge conference on prisoner rehabilitation at Fishmongers' Hall.

Conrad Duncan30 November 2019 08:56

Brandon Lewis, the security minister, has refused to say whether the attack by a convicted terrorist showed a “failure” by authorities.

Mr Lewis, who spoke to Sky News and the BBC on Saturday morning, also responded to suggestions that cuts played a role in the attack.

He said police funding and police numbers for counter-terrorism have “consistently increased since 2015". 

The minister added: “The Metropolitan Police is the best-funded per capita police force in the country and we will continue to ensure they have the resources they need to keep us safe."

Conrad Duncan30 November 2019 09:10

Questions have been raised about how Usman Khan was able to attack members of the public after being convicted for his role in a plot to bomb London’s stock exchange in 2012.

Khan was out on licence from prison when he killed two people in the stabbing attack before he was shot dead by police.

In 2013, he was given a 16-year fixed term sentence of which half should be served in prison.

Speaking at the time, Lord Justice Leveson said: “There is an argument for concluding that anyone convicted of such an offence should be incentivised to demonstrate that he can safely be released; such a decision is then better left to the Parole Board for consideration proximate in time to the date when release becomes possible.”

However, the Parole Board has released a statement this morning denying any involvement in Khan’s release from prison.

You can read the statement below:

Conrad Duncan30 November 2019 09:21

Staffordshire Police have been carrying out searches this morning at an address where Usman Khan had been living.

In a new statement, police have asked members of the public to be vigilant and said it is vitally important that people remain “alert but not alarmed” after the attack.

They added: “We would like to reassure communities across the County that our local officers will be carrying out high-visibility patrols and will be on hand for reassurance and to respond to any concerns people may have.”

Conrad Duncan30 November 2019 09:43

Chris Phillips, a former head of the UK National Counter Terrorism Security Office, has launched a damning attack on the criminal justice system, which he said was “playing Russian roulette” with the lives of the public.

“The criminal justice system needs to look at itself,” he told the Press Association.

“We're letting people out of prison, we're convicting people for very, very serious offences and then they are releasing them back into society when they are still radicalised.

“So how on earth can we ever ask our police services and our security services to keep us safe?”

Mr Phillips added that a lack of funding for prisons could lead to more terrorist incidents similar to Friday’s attack.

“No-one wants to spend money on prisons… However, if you don't spend the money on the prisons, if you don't keep people locked up, if you don't stop radicalisation happening in prisons, then you have incidents like this,” he said.

Conrad Duncan30 November 2019 09:55

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has said flags on UK government buildings will fly at half-mast today for the victims of yesterday’s terror attack.

Two people were killed in the stabbing attack on Friday and three others injured.

Conrad Duncan30 November 2019 10:07

Here’s how the leaders of the major political parties responded to the attack yesterday.

Boris Johnson said he would be chairing an emergency Cobra meeting and there would be an enhanced police presence on the streets for “reassurance purposes”.

Jeremy Corbyn said he was “deeply shocked” by the attack and thanked police officers and members of the public who intervened.

And Jo Swinson said her thoughts were with all those affected by “this appalling display of violence”.

Conrad Duncan30 November 2019 10:17

More from Sadiq Khan, who spoke to Sky News’ this morning.

Mr Khan commended the bravery of members of the public and said he did not think it was right for someone convicted of a serious offence to be automatically released.

Conrad Duncan30 November 2019 10:31

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