Theresa May accuses Jeremy Corbyn of making an ‘excuse for terrorism’
Theresa May has accused Jeremy Corbyn of making an “excuse for terrorism” and said the Labour leader is not “up to the job” of protecting the British people.
Following a speech in which Mr Corbyn said that the war on terror had failed, and claimed that British foreign policy was one of the reasons for the Manchester bombing, Mrs May said the choice voters face at the election had become “starker”.
At a press conference in Italy, the Prime Minister said: “I have been here with the G7, working with other international leaders to fight terrorism. At the same time, Jeremy Corbyn has said that terror attacks in Britain are our own fault and he has chosen to do that a few days after one of the worst terrorist atrocities we have experienced in the United Kingdom.
“I want to make something clear to Jeremy Corbyn and to you: there can never be an excuse for terrorism, there can be no excuse for what happened in Manchester.”
On the general election, she added: “The choice that people face… has just become starker. It's a choice between me, working constantly to protect the national interest and to protect our security – and Jeremy Corbyn, who frankly isn't up to the job."
A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said Mrs May’s interpretation of the Labour leader’s comments was misleading.
“In his speech, Jeremy said protecting this country requires us to be both strong against terrorism and strong against the causes of terrorism,” the spokesman said. “The blame is with the terrorists, but if we are to protect our people we must be honest about what threatens our security.”
Pressed on the issue in an interview with Andrew Neil, Mr Corbyn repeated that there was a link between the terrorist attack and “our interventions in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya".
“The attack on Manchester was shocking, appalling, indefensible, wrong in every possible way,” he said. “The parallel I was drawing this morning was that a number of people ever since the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq have drawn attention to the links with foreign policy, including Boris Johnson in 2005, two former heads of MI5, and of course the foreign affairs select committee.”