London Bridge attack: Jeremy Corbyn calls on Theresa May to resign over police cuts
Jeremy Corbyn today upped the ante in the brewing row over the London Bridge terror attack as he called on Theresa May to resign for overseeing cuts to police numbers.
The Labour leader said he backed calls for the Prime Minister to step aside in the wake of Saturday’s atrocities that saw seven people killed and 48 injured as three assailants ran rampant in central London.
Mr Corbyn argued that Mrs May had presided over cuts to the police force while serving as home secretary for six years, and "very responsible" people had expressed concerns about her record.
When asked by ITV News if he supported those who called on the Prime Minister to resign, he said:
"Indeed I would, because there’s been calls by a lot of very responsible people on this who are very worried that she was at the Home Office for all this time, presided over these cuts in police numbers, and now is saying that we have a problem.
"Yes we do have a problem, we should never have cut the police numbers."
He added: "We have got an election on Thursday and that’s perhaps the best opportunity to deal with it."
The brief hiatus in national campaigning resumed with force last night as Mr Corbyn accused Mrs May of trying to "protect the public on the cheap" after she cut police numbers by 20,000.
He also attacked the Government over its close ties to Saudi Arabia "and other Gulf states that have funded and fuelled extremist ideology".
The Conservatives reacted in kind this morning by accusing Mr Corbyn of “desperate promises and evasive soundbites”.
MAY ON THE ATTACK
And Mrs May this morning attacked her Labour counterpart for opposing anti-terror legislation as she defended her record on police funding.
She told reporters ahead of a speech in central London: “The commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has said that the Met is well resourced - and they are - and that they have very powerful counterterrorism capabilities – and they do.
"We have protected counterterrorism policing budgets, we have also provided funding for an increase in the number of armed police officers.
"Since 2015 we have protected overall police budgets, and that’s despite the fact that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party in the House of Commons suggested that police budgets could be cut.
"But it’s also about the powers that we give to the police. 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."
'ABDICATION OF LEADERSHIP'
At her speech in Westminster, she added: "In this election there is one leader who has made it his life’s ambition to get rid of Trident, and one who is committed to keeping it.
"One leader who has boasted about opposing every single counter-terror law, and one who has been responsible for passing them.
"One leader who has opposed the use of shoot to kill, and given cover to the IRA when they bombed and shot our citizens – and who now, in the midst of an election campaign, wants to do all he can to hide or deny those views. That’s not leadership. It’s an abdication of leadership."