Michael Fallon: Jeremy Corbyn is 'weak, weak, weak' on terror
Michael Fallon has accused Jeremy Corbyn of being "weak, weak, weak" after the Labour leader said British foreign policy was one of the reasons for the Manchester bombing.
In a furious assault, the Defence Secretary also accused Mr Corbyn of being "soft on terrorism" and unprepared to sanction military action if he became Prime Minister.
His comments came in the wake of a major speech in which the Labour leader said the war on terror had failed and pledged to pursue a different approach if he wins the election.
Mr Corbyn said: "Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home."
Hitting back, Mr Fallon said: "This is a very badly timed speech showing some very muddled and dangerous thinking. He seems to be implying that a terrorist attack in Manchester is somehow our fault, is somehow Britain’s fault. Jeremy Corbyn is far too ready to find excuses and far too slow to support the police and the security services.
"This is a man, by the way, who has opposed every piece of terrorist legislation, who thinks we should talk to terrorists and who’s even questioned whether the police should be right to shoot to kill. So you see the contrast today between Theresa May acting in the national interest and Jeremy Corbyn confirming that he’s simply not up to the job."
He added: "You also have to be determined to take action and that means, yes, the police being ready to shoot to kill, that means having tough anti-terror legislation and that also means authorising the RAF to strike those planning attacks against our country. On all those things Jeremy Corbyn is weak, weak, weak."
Home Secretary Amber Rudd stepped up the Conservative assault on Mr Corbyn. She said: "Look at 9/11, look at countries like Sweden and Finland that have also been victims of attacks, nobody could say that their foreign policy is connected in any way to the sort of events you’re talking about in terms of activities in Iraq.
"No, what we have here is some grotesque ideology from Daesh trying to weaponise young people in our society. This is nothing to do with the UK’s foreign policy and to make that connection now, of all weeks, is completely outrageous."
Labour figures also joined in the backlash against Mr Corbyn.
Neil Coyle, who is seeking re-election in Bermondsey and Old Southwark, told Sky News: "I think this intervention is badly timed, and I just struggle to see the analysis.
"It certainly wouldn’t explain why Nigeria is under attack, Sweden has been attacked, and Paris has been attacked when France opposed some of the UK interventions. So the analysis – it doesn’t sound like it stacks up."
But Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner defended Mr Corbyn.
He said: "Clearly the responsibility for these atrocities that have taken place is with those who have perpetrated them. But what we have to understand is that they use these things as an excuse and there are young people, young men usually but not exclusively, who are alienated from our society.
"Now most of what Jeremy is talking about in his speech today is about British values, about how we overcome that sense of alienation, how we use that spirit of Manchester, that spirit of solidarity and support for people and how we try and have a more inclusive, kinder society. That I think is really fundamentally important."