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Jeremy Corbyn has condemned Theresa May’s record on dealing with the terror threat as it emerged the Isis jihadist group has claimed responsibility for the London Bridge atrocity.
The Labour leader accused the prime Minister of denying resources to the police and security services and suppressing a report believed to make sensitive allegations about Saudi funding of extremists.
One of the attackers shouted “this is for Allah” as he knifed a man near a pub.
The head of the SITE intelligence group says the terror group claimed its fighters carried out the attack.
The first victim of the attack has been named as Canadian national Christine Archibald, who worked in a homeless shelter until she moved to Europe to be with her fiance.
In a speech in Carlisle a day after the terror attack at London Bridge, the Labour leader vowed to take “whatever action is necessary and effective” to preserve public safety. And he warned the Government it could not “protect the public on the cheap”.
The Prime Minister cut police manpower by 20,000 despite warnings that this would undermine safety, said Mr Corbyn, who has promised to recruit an additional 10,000 officers and 1,000 security service agents if he wins power on June 8.
Earlier in the day, Mrs May set out a four-pronged strategy to tackle terror by countering radical ideology; clamping down on online extremism; preventing the growth of segregated communities; and giving extra powers to police, security agencies and courts.
The PM’s comments sparked complaints from Labour that she was getting involved in political debate on a day when the parties had agreed to halt election campaiging until the evening.
He said the attacks at Manchester Arena and London Bridge had turned Thursday’s vote into a “struggle between terrorism and democracy itself”.
He urged voters to “resist Islamophobia and division and turn out on June 8 united in our determination to show our democracy is strong”.
Criticising Mrs May’s record, he said: “You cannot protect the public on the cheap. The police and security services must get the resources they need, not 20,000 police cuts.
“Theresa May was warned by the Police Federation but she accused them of ‘crying wolf’.
After Mrs May said that combating terrorism would require “difficult conversations” with Muslim communities in the UK, Mr Corbyn said that the PM must also be ready to have difficult discussions with close ally and major arms customer Saudi Arabia about terror funding.
He cited the delayed publication of an investigation commissioned by David Cameron into the foreign funding of extremist Islamist groups, which is reported to focus on the Gulf kingdom.
“We do need to have some difficult conversations, starting with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have funded and fuelled extremist ideology,” said Mr Corbyn.
“It is no good Theresa May suppressing a report into the foreign funding of extremist groups. We have to get serious about cutting off the funding to these terror networks, including Isis, here and in the Middle East.”
Mr Corbyn took a swipe at Donald Trump over the president’s attack on London Mayor Sadiq Khan for supposed “political correctness” over the terror attack.
MORE ON THE LONDON BRIDGE TERROR ATTACK:
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Theresa May says general election WILL go ahead in wake of latest London atrocity
Dramatic video shows police storming London Bridge bar minutes after attack
London Bridge eyewitnesses describe attackers shouting ‘This is for Allah’ before knife frenzy
Mr Trump criticised the mayor for saying Londoners should not be “alarmed”.
But Mr Khan accused him of deliberately misinterpreting comments in which he urged Londoners and visitors not to be alarmed by the sight of armed police on the streets.
The Labour leader said: ‘At this time it is more important than ever that we stay united in our communities. It is the strength of our communities that gets us through these awful times as London Mayor Sadiq Khan recognised but which the current occupant in the White House has neither the grace nor the sense to grasp.
“Whether we are Muslim or Christian, black or white, male or female, gay or straight, we are united by our values, by our determination for a better world, and that we can build a better society.”
Mr Corbyn – who called a minute’s silence before beginning his speech – said that if elected on Thursday, he will commission a report on the terror threat on his first day in Downing Street
He also said that on his first day in office he would ask the Commissioners of the Metropolitan Police and the British Transport Police for the names of those whose bravery had been on show at the terror attacks, so that he can “acknowledge their heroism and of many others in our emergency services and among the public who intervened”.
For Conservatives, security minister Ben Wallace said: “This was a hastily-arranged speech designed to help Jeremy Corbyn run from his record on counter-terrorism policy, but it failed.
“He has boasted about opposing every single counter-terror law, opposed the use of shoot-to-kill, and gave cover to the IRA when they bombed and shot our citizens.
“Voters will judge him on his views and actions in the last 30 years, not his desperate promises and evasive soundbites three days out from polling day.”