Jeremy Corbyn uses Boris Johnson's tweets to make attack on Theresa May's emergency services cuts

Foreign secretary tweeted he was 'mystified' at closure of Uxbridge police station

Lydia Smith
Wednesday 15 November 2017 18:27
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Jeremy Corbyn uses Boris Johnson's tweets to make attack on May's emergency services cuts

Jeremy Corbyn used Prime Minister’s Questions one week before the budget to pressure Theresa May over cuts to emergency services.

The Labour leader prompted laughter by quoting tweets posted by Boris Johnson expressing anger at the planned closure of Uxbridge police station in his constituency.

“I’ve been following some of the tweets from her friends on the front bench over there,” Mr Corbyn said.

“One of them, and I quote, says, ‘very disappointed and mystified at the closure of Uxbridge police station’.

“For the want of any doubt Mr Speaker, that came from the foreign secretary.”

Last week, Mr Johnson criticised the planned closure of the police station on Twitter, despite it being part of a policy he introduced as Mayor of London.

The Foreign Secretary said he was “very disappointed” and “mystified” at the decision by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime to close the station.

However, the policy of shutting local police stations was introduced in 2013, when Mr Johnson was Mayor.

At the time, Mr Johnson said: “Londoners have repeatedly told us that putting more officers on the streets is their top priority, not keeping them hidden behind desks in offices which the public rarely set foot in.”

Under the plans outlined in 2013, 65 police stations across the capital were assigned for closure, leaving one publicly-accessible station in each borough.

Officials maintain the vast majority of crimes are now reported on the phone or online, which makes police stations redundant.

In response to Mr Corbyn’s comments during PMQs, however, the Prime Minister argued the closure of police stations was mainly down to the actions of the current Mayor of London.

“He might not have noticed but the police and crime commissioner in London is the Mayor,” she said.

“The last time I looked Sadiq Khan was a Labour mayor, although perhaps the leader of the Labour Party thinks he’s not Labour enough for him.”

During PMQs, Mr Corbyn also challenged Ms May to provide central Government funding to fit sprinklers into all high-rise buildings, following the Grenfell tower fire in June which killed at least 80 people.

“In the wake of the terrible Grenfell Tower fire, the Prime Minister was very clear when she said this could not be allowed to happen again, and money would be no object to fire safety,” Mr Corbyn said.

“Will she therefore now back the campaign to provide £1bn to local councils to retro-fit sprinklers to all high-rise blocks?”

Ms May responded saying the Government took "the appalling tragedy at Grenfell seriously", but pointed out that not all Labour councils support retrofitting sprinklers to flats and houses, and that there were also other fire safety measures available.

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